This Beautyberry Is White

Just like it purple native this white selection has long stems full of white fruit in fall

Just like its purple native, this white selection has long stems full of white fruit in fall.

This overall show just how big an unpruned white beautyberry shrub.

This overall view shows just how big an unpruned white beautyberry shrub can get.

Fruit color comparison of purple and white clusters along the stem

It is easy to see beautyberry shrub with its purple fruits in many Birmingham native gardens, but not the white ones. I think white beautyberry is one of the most unique fall fruiting shrubs. Easily grow from seed or cuttings, they are at their height of fruit color now and will probably fade by next week, as the cold weather arrives. The one photographed here is on the entry drive of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and as I passed it today, all of the foliage had dropped. And even on a dreary day, the fruiting branches were showstoppers. One of the great things about this selection of our common beautyberry is that it is easy to grow, and because it is a sun loving native, I have not seen any insect or disease problems on these plants. One negative is that the seeds germinate easily, and they can become big wild looking shrubs. Fortunately, they are easily controlled by severe pruning in winter, and the seeds generally do not germinate if the plant is mulched heavily with pine straw. But for cut stems of berries to use indoors, they cannot be beat because of their unusual white fall color, plus they hold up well when cut. My one trick is when I cut these branches, I spray the fruit with hairspray, and that seems to make the cut last even longer.


John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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