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Thread: American Beautyberry - Callicarpa Americana

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
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    9,934

    American Beautyberry - Callicarpa Americana

    I posted this a few weeks ago on a thread about native plants and about my experiences with them.

    I have had several emails with both Shepp and Tom in the past regarding this shrub. It is truly a beauty, especially in the fall when the limbs are filled with purple berries. Better than that, I haven't found it to be invasive even though it does produce an abundance of berries.

    I deleted the thread because a messager was sent to cause trouble for Landspro. However, I saved the contents. This post was dated May 19,2003. I also have some pictures that were taken this afternoon of the blooms.

    Here's my little story....

    "I met with my aunt this afternoon, and we discussed the 'found' plant. She found it in a ditch, located about 10 miles south of me, closer to the coast. It was in bloom, so she collected a seedling.

    This definitely must be in the genes! LAS! I found a plant that I really liked growing near a ditch on the outside of a barbed wire fence of a cattle ranch not far from my home. I remembered the location, so that I could go back and tack cuttings the next spring when it was not full of berries. The following spring, the plant was GONE!

    Then I finally spotted one, again, loaded with beautiful clusters of berries. I stopped, waded through the tall weeds of the vacant and wooded lot, and took a few cuttings of this beautiful bush.

    When I got home, I made a beautiful floral arrangement featuring these beautiful purple berries. When the berries started to fall, I removed all of them, removed the lower leaves, applied rooting hormone and 'stuck' them in a container of soiless mixture.

    Note that since they were semi- hardwood, and some stems rather thick, I slit the lower end of the stem vertically to allow them to obtain moisture. I often do this with larger in diameter semi-hardwood cuttings, and it appears to help.

    To my pleasure, they rooted. I overwintered them and they continued to grow. I planted one in the back flower bed in partial shade. I still didn't know what it was. I looked, but couldn't seem to find it in the books that I had. I had no clue as to whether it was an annual, a perennial or what....

    Then one day, I was washing dishes and watching one of my favorite gardening shows with Erica Glaziner, and wouldn't you now it! There was my beautiful berry plant...

    The American Beautyberry...

    Callicarpa Americana

    It's a beautiful shrub and has grown significantly since being just a small cutting. It bloomed last year and produced a few clusters of berries, but this year it is full size and full of blooms. I will be taking cuttings of it this winter before the first frost. I'd like to have a few more of these planted in full sun in my landscape.

    Since that time, I have researched the plant. (It helps to know the botanical name). Resources say that it can also be propagated via hardwood cuttings.

    What FUN!"
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
    Posts
    9,934

    American Beautyberry Pictures....

    Here are the pictures that I took today, the tiny blooms forming...



    The plant to the left is the Callicarpa Americana. To the right is a rescued Variegated Weigella which is doing quite well now.

    Amongst these plants are common privets that seed themselves everywhere. I hope to one day have time to dig up.



    Hopefully, I can take some pictures when it is loaded with berries. This shrub is now about 6 foot tall.

    Enjoy!
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  3. #3

    What a FUN story, Ann!

    And I love the pics! It is a gorgeous shrub!
    I have never seen anything like it around my area...
    I can't believe the rudeness of the "Nasty Messenger" and I am glad you have banned him. You did the right thing and don't give it another thought.
    You have a wonderful message board here and I for one truly enjoy it very much. I feel like I have known you people on here forever, but isn't that just the way of gardeners anyhow?..lol.
    It is so full of great resource information for the horticulturalist as well as the novice gardener, and I know it takes alot of time and work on your part.
    So, just for the record, thank you!!!
    Becki
    Becki B.
    Central Ohio
    Zone 5b-6

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    598

    Native plant

    I wouldn't say they are invasive, but they are mighty thick around my house. They just seem to spring up in some of the strangest places.

    You mentioned that you would like to put some out in full sun, but around here, they are an understory bush. I found 2 out back that are about 10' apart, and both are about 7' wide and high. A few weeks ago I tilled a figure 8 around them and planted daylillies, lantana, and crinums around them. along the front (between the house and lake) are a group of iris that have more or less disappeared for the season. In back of that, I want to plant this native wild rose, but first I have to come up with some sort of structure for it to climb on.

    So, if you have a problem getting them to take root, give us a holler, there are hundreds of them all over the place here.

    I read somewhere, I think in Dirr's book, that some folks prune them way back each year because they bloom on new growth. I know that I've clipped a few with the bushhog in the past and they jump back really fast.
    Tom W
    Aching Back Farm

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    northeast Tennessee
    Posts
    1,703
    Our callicarpas have sold very well while in bloom. I hope the berries come on before the season is over. hey should sell even better. I would like my snow berry to have berries on it to sell. It has white berries. Very unusual.Very pretty (small) wax looking blooms. (symphoricarpas).
    tennessee sue

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
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    This is the one of the rooted cuttings which I decided to plant. It has really grown and is now about 8 ft tall, but the lower part is the prettiest. It is now 'undertory' as Tom recommended due to growth of a nearby tree.

    It's so pretty and healthy!
    Attached Images    
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    SE Michigan (zone 5-6)
    Posts
    809
    A little unusual but cool looking plants. I like the color.
    Dave

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    791
    Callicarpa here in Georgia have the tendencies Tom mentioned but to me the berries are enough of a reward to make it worth what it takes to keep it fairly easily restrained. I enjoy plants+ that are but especially inexpensively multiplied or replaced. Thank you for sharing the great close-up. The berry clusters are unique. I remember examining(or disecting)them with great care when I was VERY young (4-5) on my grandmother's farm in Kentucky long ago.
    Patsy

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