Sunday, May 23, 2010

Suburban Beauty

The blooms of May continue, as the American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) bushes on the north side of the house begin to flower.

I wrote about our beautyberry bushes last fall, when I discussed the various shrubs that grow on the north side of our house. It's a good time to point out that the beautyberry bushes are one of the few plants in My Florida Backyard that seemed to love the cold winter this year. They are much fuller and bushier, especially after a hard pruning in late February. Beautyberry bushes can get rather leggy and scraggly looking if you aren't pretty stringent with a pruning in late winter, but ours are doing well and have almost doubled in size and fullness since last fall.

Beautyberry flowers and the subsequent berries grow at the junction where leaves meet stem. The blooms are not particularly fragrant or showy, and don't seem to be be a big nectar draw like some others, but they're very pretty up close.

This native shrub is a real trooper and one of our personal favorites. It's a shame these aren't more widely available outside native plant nurseries; it's extremely difficult to kill and grows in a wide variety of conditions. If you're looking for a low-maintenance shrub with a natural feel, you can't miss with American Beautyberry.


  1. FG ~ I've never seen beautyberry down here. It sure is pretty and wonderful that it's a native.


  2. I love the name of the beautyberry!

  3. My husband and I have just completed a total yard makeover utilizing Florida Yard principles in our small yard in the Seminole Heights area of Tampa, and beautyberry is among the plants we have in our front landscape. We also have an oakleaf hydrangea underneath our oak tree that I am anxious to watch grow and bloom. I am enjoying your blog!

  4. I've never seen such full beautyberry bushes. They look so healthy. I'm going to have to give this native plant another look. I love the berries but never noticed the blooms before.