Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

How to Grow Beautyberry in Your Yard

Asian beautyberry plant in early fall.

Asian beautyberry plant in early fall.

If you’re looking for a plant that’s easy to grow and provides nearly year-round interest, try growing beautyberry. Beautyberry is a medium-sized, deciduous shrub that grows in a pretty cascading umbrella shape.

Beautyberry’s green foliage is speckled with lavender-pink flowers in spring, then the shrub lives up to its name with a spectacular show of intense purple or white berries in fall that last after the leaves have fallen.

Beginning gardeners can’t help but succeed with beautyberry since it’s drought-tolerant, doesn’t need fertilizer, doesn’t require special pruning, and is virtually unharmed by diseases and pests. All in all, beautyberry is about the most low-maintenance a plant you can find.

About Beautyberry

The many varieties of beautyberry are generally divided into two groups:

Spring flowers on beautyberry plant

Spring flowers on beautyberry.

  • American Beautyberry: (Callicarpa americana) is native to the southeastern United States where it can occasionally be spotted growing wild. American beautyberry grows quickly to 5’ tall or more and is winter hardy to zone 7. American beautyberry has been cultivated into varieties with purple or white berries.
  • Asian Beautyberry: Japanese beautyberry (Callicarpa japonica) and Chinese beautyberry (C. dichotoma and C. bodinieri) are cold tolerant to zone 5 but a little less heat tolerant than American beautyberry. They are generally smaller (4’ tall) than American varieties and have smaller berries, but the berries are less concealed by the leaves. Purple or white fruited varieties are available. Asian beautyberries easily spread by dropping seeds and can sometimes become invasive.
Purple berries on beautyberry plant

Spectacular berries on beautyberry plant!

Beautyberry Growing Conditions

  • Light: Beautyberry plants prefer full to partial sun. While they produce more berries in full sun, beautyberry is naturally suited to the edges of woodland areas. The more sun plants receive, the more water they will need.
  • Soil: Beautyberry does best in fertile, well-draining soil but will do fine in all but the poorest of soils.
  • Water: An inch per week is ideal, but beautyberry can tolerate some drought.
Beautyberry plant with green leaves and purple berries

Beautyberry with green foliage and purple berries.

Beautyberry Growing Tips

  • Planting: Beautyberry can be planted in spring or fall. Plant only as deep as the root ball. Most of the time, you can plant beautyberry in native soil, though extremely poor soil should be amended with compost.
  • Fertilizing: Hold off on fertilizing beautyberry, as too much fertilizer will result in fewer berries.
  • Irrigation: Water beautyberry during periods of drought.
  • Pruning: You don’t really need to prune beautyberry, though fast growing varieties can be cut back pretty severely to keep them in shape. In colder zones, some gardeners treat beautyberry like a perennial and cut it nearly to the ground in winter. Since blooms occur on new wood, prune beautyberry while dormant in late winter or early spring.
  • Propagating: Beautyberry can be propagated by seeds or from cuttings. Look around the bottom of your beautyberry for seedlings to transplant.
  • Insects and Disease: Beautyberries are pretty much problem free!

Further Information

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13 Comments on “How to Grow Beautyberry in Your Yard”

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  1. Beverly Bowman Says:
    October 17th, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    The best and most beautiful article I have ever read on the internet about anything. My daughter has two massive ones and discovered babies. She is in Pa and I am in the Adirondack Mts. of NY but I am going to try to plant some “babies”, hopefully before the snow flies!!!
    Thank you very much.

  2. Donna Says:
    May 26th, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Hi, this article about Beauty Berry states “virtually unharmed by diseases and pests”, something is eating the leaves. Can’t see any pests, any ideas of what it could be?
    I am in zone 8-9 in Sacramento, CA

  3. Jane Kennedy Says:
    September 14th, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    I have an American Beautyberry in my yard that my husband planted a couple of years ago. It is beautiful now, full of berries, and I love it. It has outgrown its spot, however, and I want to transplant it. Will it survive transplanting and when is the best time of year to do it? I live in southwest Florida.


  4. Anne Says:
    January 9th, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    I am looking for a plant I once saw that was call a Beauty Berry but instead of purple clusters of berries this plant had a single berries hanging from a small stem from underneath the stems at each of the branchletes or leaf attachments. Can anyone identify this plant for me?

  5. Barbara Says:
    May 18th, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Response to Anne:

    Could be a coral berry. I once had one but the nursery called it beauty berry when it was really a coral berry. Does it have pink berries rather than darker purple?

  6. Val Grotewold Says:
    August 23rd, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    I was inspired the last two years to plan and plant a “japanese garden”. I saw the one in Portland and the Gibb’s Garden in Georgia. Is the japanese beauty bush found in these type of gardens? I have not seen it listed in any Japanese garden books. thanks

  7. Evelyn Hershfeld Says:
    October 11th, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Will Beauty Berry grow in Maryland?

  8. Rena' Says:
    October 24th, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    I just have a some of the berries on a little stem. Can I plant that, or do anything to it to make it plant-able. :)

  9. patricia dickerson Says:
    November 5th, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    i also have a small stem with berries on it can i start a bush from this and how?

  10. KDog Says:
    November 11th, 2014 at 9:12 pm


    We live in PA about a 100 yards from the Mason Dixon (I’m from Md) and a beauty berry bush is growing in a neighbor’s yard up the road. I plan to take cuttings from it next summer.

  11. Olivia Says:
    November 19th, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    We are native to Virginia but now live in the Southwest part of the NY Catskills. We have started a number of beauty berries from cuttings but now are facing deep freeze of our winters. I have kept them sheltered on the back porch and they are doing fine but they are in pots and I am afraid of freezing roots and killing them. I was thinking of moving them to the basement garage where it stays above freezing but no light, what about indoors in the basement but again minimal light? Otherwise I can just keep them inside upstairs with the other plants with grow lights and just let them manage indoors at 68 degrees. Thanks.

  12. Ellen Says:
    December 11th, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    I saw this most beautiful bush growing in the south. Later I learned it is the Beauty bush. Will it grow in Oregon? ie western OR?

  13. Sande Richards Says:
    January 27th, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    I’d like to know if you can eat or make jams or Kelly’s with them?

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