Woody Plant Profile: Callicarpa americana

By: Sean Tedesco

Features: American beautyberry produces vibrant lavender-colored fruit that ripen in late August or early September and stay on the tree long after the leaves have fallen providing animals with food in the late fall16. It is a low maintenance and easily propagated plant making it ideal for understory applications10. This plant can be used in rain gardens, as it prefers moist, well-drained soils19. Attracts butterflies, birds, deer and even raccoons to eat its leaves and berries16.

Siting: American beautyberry belongs in full sun or part shade16; it desires moist loam, sand, or clay of varying pH levels10. It can be used in rain gardens or shoreline buffers19. In order to minimize pruning, supply the plant with ample space to grow to its mature height and spread19.

Care: Plant crown at soil level18. At planting, water the roots and surrounding area slowly and deeply. Keep soil moist until plant is established, then apply enough water to thoroughly moisten the root zone when the soil is dry or during drought. Modify water recommendations to reflect site drainage and rainfall. Apply 3” of mulch over the planted area. Do not allow mulch to touch the plant stems18. Pruning should occur in fall or winter16. Berries only occur on new growth therefore cut away old stems16.

Pests: Plants are relatively pest resistant if cultural preferences are met12.

This plant does not appear on the following invasive plant lists on (11/08/2018):

USDA SC Invasive Plant Species Web site at http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/plants/main.shtml

SC Exotic Plant Pest Council Web site at http://www.se-eppc.org/southcarolina/

Sources may be viewed at the Sustainable Landscape Demonstration Garden Web page: https://www.clemson.edu/cafls/demo/sources.html

Sean Tedesco is a student in Dr. Vincent’s HORT 3080 Sustainable Landscape Garden Design, Installation, and Maintenance class. He is an Architecture major at Clemson University and his hometown is Winchester, MA.

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