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October 24

Callicarpa

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Commonly known as Beautyberry, it is originally from China and Japan.  The reason to grow this shrub are the violet or white fruits in September and October.   In a large mass, these shrubs can really make a beautiful statement in late fall.  The flowers that bloom in midsummer are not terribly showy.  Birds love the fruit in the fall, for a late season fruit.
Care for the beautyberry is easy, full sun or partial shade, with more blooms and berries in the sun.  They are rapid growers, and could be cut back and treated as herbaceous  perennials in the garden.  The stems may not survive our winters here, so the cutting back to 6” in late winter or early spring is logical.  Cutting them back will also control their size.

There are three common varieties, with slightly different characteristics.
Callicarpa Bodinieri, Bodinier Beautyberry, is the largest variety, growing 6 to 10 feet high and wide.  A good cultivar is ‘Profusion’.
Callicarpa dichotoma, Purple Beautyberry, is probably the favorite of the cultivars,  which grows only 3-4 feet high, and 4 feet in spread.  ‘Early Amethyst’ is found in catalogs and garden centers, is very popular.  There is a white berry form, ‘Albifructus’, which grows 6-8 feet high.
Callicarpa japonica, Japanese Beautyberry, grows larger than dichotoma at 4-6 feet high and wide.  ‘Leucocarpa’ is the white berry cultivar, and is considered to be the best white berry cultivar.

Dawes has another cultivar, Callicarpa kwangtungensis, Guangdong Beautyberry, which is blooming right now, in October, and the berries are still green.  The growth habit looks more like a tall perennial instead of a shrub, and can be 5 feet high.

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