Last thirty day period, my mate Janet and I went to Rockport’s 33rd annual HummerBird Celebration. Although the hummingbirds in migration have been wonderful, just one plant caught my focus. The American beautyberry shrub was in its drop regalia with chartreuse leaves and clusters of brilliant purple berries.
The American beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana) is a substantial, deciduous shrub that is indigenous to central and southeastern United States. They tend to mature wild in wooded parts.
Native American tribes used its leaves, branches and roots to handle rheumatism and fevers. Roots were used to handle tummy problems and dizziness. A blend of boiled roots and berries was employed to take care of colic.
Early in the 20th century, farmers rubbed crushed refreshing beautyberry leaves on them selves to ward off biting insects. They also placed crushed leaves below horses’ harnesses to repel mosquitoes.
Neil Sperry lists American beautyberry as one particular of the greatest fruiting shrubs for East and South Central Texas. Little lilac flowers in the summer time are followed in September and Oct by small, round, iridescent purple berries that develop in clusters alongside stems. The berries can final into winter but typically the birds devour them.
The berries are a favorite amongst wild birds like northern bobwhites, cardinals, finches, mockingbirds and other tiny birds. The foliage is a preferred of white-tailed deer.
Beautyberry is incorporated in landscape layouts to bring in wildlife. Its berries feed them and the shrub alone protects them. American beautyberry shrubs can be planted in borders, as properly as in woodland gardens. Sperry indicates planting this slow-growing shrub between shade perennials like ferns.
American beautyberry shrubs most generally improve 3- to 5-toes tall and just as large. If the soil and dampness are favorable, it can expand 9-toes tall.
Plant American beautyberry shrubs in mild shade and perfectly-drained soil. If the soil is very poor, blend some compost with the fill filth when planting it. If the soil is perfectly-draining, wait around until eventually spring to fertilize it for the first time. One more observe is to skip the fertilizer but insert a person or two shovels of compost all-around the plant in the spring.
Beautyberry shrubs commonly reseed them selves. Obtain seeds from pretty ripe berries and improve them in specific containers. Protect them the to start with year and plant them in a semi-shaded or shaded spot just after the previous frost. Or if you are a extra casual gardener, you can scatter the seeds in a acceptable spot, flippantly protect them with soil and carefully phase on them to press them into the soil.
Newly planted beautyberry shrubs need about an inch of rain for every week. When rainfall isn’t enough, give them a gradual, deep watering. As soon as they are founded, beautyberry shrubs are drought-tolerant.
It is greatest to prune American beautyberry in late winter season or early spring. The plants bloom and fruit on new wooden. In pretty chilly winters, beautyberry plants could freeze to the floor, but they come back again from roots.
Two kinds of pruning are encouraged for American beautyberry shrubs. The most straightforward is to lower the total shrub again to 6 inches above the ground. It grows again with a neat, rounded condition. This system keeps the shrub compact and you do not will need to prune it each and every year.
A further pruning approach is significantly less spectacular. Every calendar year, eliminate just one-quarter to one particular-third of the oldest branches close to the ground. With this technique, the shrub grows up to 8 or 9-ft tall, and you will renew the plant each individual three to 4 decades. Please do not shear off the plant at the ideal top for the reason that this exercise prospects to unattractive progress.
American beautyberry crops with white berries have been cultivated underneath the identify Callicarpa Americana var. lactea. Be aware of the variation if you acquire this astounding shrub.
The Gardeners’ Filth is penned by associates of the Victoria County Learn Gardener Affiliation, an educational outreach of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension – Victoria County. Mail your concerns in treatment of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901.