I still haven't run across it for sale in my city. But while visiting Sanibel-Captiva Islands in January we found plenty of them in a newly (to us) discovered garden center that specializes in native plants.
Here are (above) the two plants we transported from that vacation which found their home in the back garden. I am now affectionately referring to this as the woodlands section. It is the area at the farthest back 20 feet of our property. We could fairly say this area has evolved a great deal over the last year or so having added several new kinds of plants. Formerly only palmettos and large philodendrons were growing in the large space keeping company with the compost pile.
Having only seen American Beautyberry in the fall when its woody stems are laden with clusters of bright magenta berries, I was really curious to see what the shrub would look like in all of its stages of growth.
For the spring months it was spending its days getting bushier and taller sporting some large green foliage.
Then one day in late May excitement again as I noticed clusters of miniature buds beginning to appear.
Having read all the characteristics of this shrub at the time of planting, I knew to expect the arrival of some small flowers before the berries arrived. Even so I wasn't sure just how small or just what they would look like.
The tiny huddles of pale lilac blooms gracing the entire stem were simply delightful in the month of May.
Just recently there has been another stage in the process as you can see in photo to the right.
The lilac blooms have now given way to tightly packed green berries encircling the leaf axils along the length of each branch.
It's proven to be an attractive landscape addition with very little maintenance required. It is happy in the filtered sun of its shady location which lends to the feel of a natural garden and planted right next to some palmettos.
I am looking forward to the time when green pods turn to deep magenta in maturity. The berries will be food for wildlife with many varieties of birds feeding from it during the winter months.
Information below and photo (above) of mature berries by Floridata.com
- Very adaptable, even to low fertility soils.
- Light: Broken shade is optimal.
- Moisture: Very drought tolerant. Requires well drained soil.
- Hardiness: USDA Zones 6-10.
- Propagation: Seeds and semi-hardwood cuttings. This shrub often volunteers within its range, sometimes with such vigor as to be regarded as a weed species.