Callicarpa cathayana
Common Name: beautyberry 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: China
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 4.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Pinkish purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds
Tolerate: Drought, Erosion

Culture

Grow 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 late winter to early spring. Pruning options include a hard pruning back to 6” each year in order to promote shrub compactness and good flowering. In harsh winters in USDA Zone 5, stems may die back to the ground 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 cathayana, as most shrubs in the genus Callicarpa, features a showy display of fleshy, globe-shaped, berry-like fruits which mature in expanded axillary clusters along the stems in fall. Callicarpa cathayana features purple berries. It is native to mixed forests on mountain slopes and valleys in China. It is an upright, rounded, deciduous shrub that typically grows to 4-8' tall. Pinkish-purple flowers bloom along the stems in early summer (June-August). Flowers are followed by purple berries that ripen in fall. The berries are very attractive at the peak of ripeness (October), but quickly loses significant ornamental punch as they turn brown. Fruits are attractive to birds. Stems are clad with elliptic to ovate, medium green leaves (to 3” long).

Genus name comes from Greek meaning beautiful fruit.

Specific epithet means of China.

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.

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).