TALKING GARDENING with DOUG – July’s Plant Highlight of the Month

Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Issai’ is my chosen plant for July

The common name for Callicarpa is beautyberry.  Many of you may only know this plant by its common name.  This common name is very fitting for this beautiful plant.  I chose this plant because it is now in bloom and forming its berries.  We have one planted in front of the garden center.  It is gorgeous with its long arching branches that now have small pink flowers and clusters of berries running down each stem.  These green berries will turn purple later this fall.  We have done very little pruning on our beautyberry over the years because we like it to grow naturally.  It is all about the right plant, right location.  Beautyberry will grow to be 3 to 5 feet tall and just as wide.  So, be sure to choose a location in the sun where it can grow to its natural mature size.


Here is a list of growing characteristics for the Callicarpa dichotma ‘Issai’:

  • I already mentioned that it needs full sun and that it will grow to be 3 to 5 feet tall and just as wide.
  • It is hardy from zones 5 to 8 (we are zone 7 here in Virginia).  Its’ hardiness is the reason that it showed no issues from our cold, January temperatures.
  • The flower color is pinkish / lavender.
  • It is a deciduous shrub so it drops its leaves in the fall.  The fall leaf color is yellow.
  • Beautyberry does attract wildlife – especially birds and butterflies.
  • Beautyberry is somewhat deer resistant.
  • There seem to be no serious insect or disease problems with the plant.
  • If you do want to do any pruning then be sure to do your pruning in late winter before it breaks dormancy and starts to grow.  Flowers are produced on the new growth.

With many professional horticulturists, Callicarpa is considered one of the best ornamental fruiting shrubs.

If I have your interest then I would recommend that you come to the garden center and see our Callicarpa planted in front of the store.  We have Callicarpa available for sale in our nursery.  And, yes it may be mid-July but you can still be successful in planting now.  Our available stock is still in bloom and beginning to produce their own thousands of green berries all along the stem.  I can’t wait till later this fall when all these berries turn purple.  It is a sight to see.  Come to see me and I will take you out to the shrub.


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