Known as the beauty berry, Callicarpa comes into its own in autumn, bearing dense clusters of small, jewel-like, purple-blue berries, against bare stems. Its dark green foliage also puts on a good show in autumn, turning golden and red before falling. Callicarpas are medium-sized shrubs and look good in a mixed border, or planted as a specimen near a path or window. The bare stems of purple berries make an excellent addition to autumn flower arrangements.
How to grow callicarpa
Grow callicarpa in moist but well-drained, neutral to acidic soil in full sun to partial shade. Mulch annually with well-rotted compost or manure and lightly prune in spring.
More on growing callipcarpa:
- How to plant callicarpa
- Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’
- Callicarpa japonica var. luxurians
Where to plant callicarpa
Grow callicarpa in a prominent position such as near a bench or garden path, ideally where you can see it from the house. Choose moist but well-drained soil in full sun or light shade. Although callicarpas tolerate a little lime in the soil, they will suffer from yellowing foliage in very alkaline conditions, so a neutral to acidic soil is best.
How to plant callicarpa
Dig a generous hole and plant the callicarpa to the same depth it was in its original pot. Water well.
How to propagate callicarpa
Propagate callicarpas by softwood cuttings in summer and semi-ripe cuttings in autumn.
Growing callicarpa: problem solving
Callicarpas are generally pest and disease-free.
Caring for callicarpa
Depending on which variety your choose, you may need to plant a few callicarpas together to ensure cross-pollination and fruiting. Check the planting label for advice. In spring, lightly prune your callicarpa to maintain its shape and size.
Callicarpa varieties to try
- Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’ – a variety that fruits well on its own. Large clusters of berries appear in mid autumn, lasting long after the last of the autumn leaves have fallen. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it the prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM)
- Callicarpa japonica ‘Leucocarpa’ – a good choice for year round interest, this variety has pretty pale pink flowers in summer, followed by white berries and good autumn leaf colour
- Callicarpa japonica var. luxurians – similar to ‘Profusion’, but with larger berries, deeper lavender in colour, and the branches have an arching habit