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Light: Part Shade, Dappled Shade
Zone: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Origin: Texas, Southeastern U. S.
Callicarpa Americana, also known as beautyberry, American beautyberry or French mulberry, is a deciduous shrub that grows natively in forest edges, moist slopes, bluff tops, woodland openings, swamp margins, and fence rows in the southeastern United States, northern Mexico, Bermuda, Cuba, the Bahamas, and other islands in the West Indies. When fully grown, the plant reaches a height of around 3-5' tall and has an open growth habit with arching branches. The foliage is ovate to elliptic with serrated margins, ranging from 2-9" long to 0.75-5" wide and is arranged oppositely.
In dense, axillary clusters, the plant produces small, light pink to purple or blue-tinged flowers that develop into bright, violet to magenta (rarely white) fruits. The fruits are showy, persistent, and ripen around mid-fall. They are a source of food for birds, squirrels, and other wildlife.
For optimal growth, the beautyberry plant requires evenly moist, well-draining, sandy, or clayey soils with plenty of organic matter. It can grow in nearly any soil type if drainage is adequate. The plant can tolerate some drought once established, but during prolonged periods of hot summer drought, it may defoliate, and fruiting performance may be poor. The best fruiting occurs in full sun, but the plant will tolerate light shade. It is hardy in Zones 6-12. In harsh winters or if planted in an exposed site, the plant may experience dieback in the colder end of its hardiness range, but it will resprout readily from the base, and fruiting should not be affected. Prune in winter to encourage more bushy, compact growth. Plants can be cut as far back as 1' from the base or around 2' less than the desired size. Deadwood should be removed in spring. The plant can be propagated from cuttings or seed.
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