The Q&A Archives: Pepperberry for Decorating

Question: I would like to find what I've heard referred to as a pepperberry. It's used for ornamental purposes, especially with Christmas greenery. I believe the berry starts out white and turns red. Is this the correct name?

Answer: You're right, the berry you see in holiday decorations is probably pepperberry (botanical name: Schinus molle). Unfortunately, this native of Peru is not hardy in your region. Other sources of red berries would be winterberry (Ilex verticillata), or a viburnum such as 'Oneida', which has red fruit that persists through late winter. Heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) also has red berries. It is hardy to zone 6 with protection, so you should be able to grow it in suburban Detroit, but probably not in other parts of the state.

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