Fast-growing deciduous shrubs, beautyberries grow 4 to 8 feet tall and wide. Plant them in a natural woodland setting under tall shade trees or as an informal hedge along the perimeter of a property. Beautyberries have small, lavender-pink, lilac-like flowers in spring, followed by vivid purple or white berries in fall. The berries attract birds, as well as provide winter color. Although the berries are edible, they aren't the most desired food of birds and often hang on the bush into late winter. The foliage turns an attractive yellow in fall.
Special features of beautyberries
Beautyberries provide interest year-round. Their berries are also a vibrant purple color and will make any garden instantly stand out.
Choosing a site to grow beautyberries
Select a site with light shade or full sun and very well-drained soil. Avoid full shade, as this often decreases berry production.
Plant in spring or fall, spacing plants 4 to 6 feet apart. Dig a hole only as deep as the rootball and two to three times as wide. If your soil is in very poor condition, amend the soil you've removed from the hole with a small amount of compost. Otherwise don't amend it at all. Carefully remove the plant from the container and set it in the hole. Fill the hole half full with soil, then water it well to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets. Let the water drain, then fill the remainder of hole with soil and water thoroughly.
Beautyberries prefer at least an inch of rain (or equivalent watering) each week, although they can endure short periods of drought. Beautyberry generally doesn't need pruning; the shrub has an open form, and branches naturally hang down when weighted with berries. Beautyberry generally has few pest problems.