Winter hardy to USDA Zones 6-8 where it is easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best flowering and fruiting typically occur in full sun. Stems can become leggy in too much shade. Prune in early spring if needed. Flowers bloom on new wood. Plant in a protected location in USDA Zone 5 where the above-ground stems may not be reliably winter hardy. In the alternative, shrubs may be grown in the manner of herbaceous perennials in Zone 5 by pruning stems back to 6” in late winter each year. Best cross-pollination and resultant fruit production occur when shrubs are planted in groups or massed.
Callicarpa bodinieri, commonly known as Bodinier beautyberry, is a rounded, deciduous shrub that typically grows 6-10’ tall with upright slender branching. It is native to Sichuan, Hubei and Shaanxi provinces in central and western China. Lilac flowers in dense sprays (cymes to 1.5” diameter) bloom in the leaf axils along the stems in summer (June-August) on new growth of the season. Flowers are followed by glossy violet-purple fruits (1/8” to 1/6” diameter) which ripen in September, but put on their best fruit display through October. Elliptic to ovate-elliptic green leaves (to 7” long) with acuminate tips and toothed margins are downy on both surfaces. Stems are also downy. Leaves turn golden yellow in autumn. This shrub is primarily included in gardens for its showy fall fruit display.
Var. giraldii shrubs lack the down found on the stems and leaves of species plants. This variety has slightly more compact growth and superior form to the species. It is much more commonly sold in commerce than species plants.
Genus name comes from Greek meaning beautiful fruit.
Specific epithet honors Emile Marie Bodinieri (1842-1901), French missionary and botanist who collected plants in China.
‘Profusion’ is an upright arching cultivar that typically grows to 10’ tall. It is a more fruitful form that produces 30-40 violet bead-like fruits per cluster. It is particularly noted for its showy fruits which mature in fall and remain on the plant after the leaves have dropped but not throughout winter. New leaves emerge bronze purple in spring, turning to dark green in summer before finally turning to golden-purple in fall.
No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to leaf spot, stem diseases and black mold. May suffer significant stem dieback or die to the ground in harsh winters.
Group or mass. Borders. Bird gardens. Underplanting for open woodland areas. For an interesting fall berry display, plant in combination with other fall berry-producing shrubs such as Ilex verticillata (red berries) and Pyracantha (orange berries). Berry-laden fall stems may be cut for flower arrangements.