Callicarpa japonica 'Heavy Berry'
Common Name: beautyberry
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Pink to white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best flowering and fruiting is in full sun. Stems can become leggy in too much shade. Some tolerance for drought. Flowers bloom on new wood. Prune as needed in early spring. Most gardeners prefer to prune stems back to 6” in late winter to early spring each year. Such hard pruning tends to promote shrub compactness and good flowering. In harsh USDA Zone 5 winters, stems may die back to the ground in winter with new growth emerging from the roots in spring. Best cross-pollination and resultant fruit production occur when shrubs are planted in groups or massed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Callicarpa japonica, commonly called Japanese beautyberry, is a rounded, deciduous shrub with slender, upright-arching branches. It typically grows to 4-6’ tall and as wide. As the common name suggests, the best ornamental feature of this shrub is its showy fall display of fruit (beautyberries). Clusters (cymes to 1.5” wide) of small, pink to white flowers bloom in June. Flowers are not particularly showy. Flowers are followed by large clusters of bright, glossy, violet to purple fruits (each 1/6” diameter) which ripen in late summer and put on their best show through October. Fruits may persist beyond the point of leaf drop but not very far into winter. Fruits are attractive to birds. Elliptic to ovate-lanceolate, finely toothed, medium green leaves (to 3-5” long) with acuminate tips are borne along the stems.

Genus name comes from Greek meaning beautiful fruit.

Specific epithet means of Japan.

'Heavy Berry' is noted for producing a larger crop of violet purple berries (October to early December) than found on species plants.

Problems

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.

Garden Uses

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).