The Q&A Archives: Trimming a beautyberry

Question: I've bought a house with a gorgeous, but enormous, beautyberry bush. It's starting to cover some nearby plants. Is there a preferred time and method of trimming it back? Or do I just live with its size and move all the other plants?

Answer: Callicarpa is usually pruned back very hard in the late winter to early spring, meaning cut it back almost to the ground. This stimulates vigorous new growth. It blooms and fruits on the new growth, so do not prune it during the summer. It may be that the neighboring plants fill in the space and bloom or otherwise provide interest in spring and summer while the callicarpa later takes the stage in the fall and so they co-exist in the space. Whenever you have a new garden or landscape it is worth taking a year to see how everything performs before you start moving things around or making big changes. Enjoy!

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