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CALLICARPA japonica 'Heavy Berry'

Image of Callicarpa japonica 'Heavy Berry'

Mark A. Miller

Family

Verbenaceae

Botanical Name

CALLICARPA japonica 'Heavy Berry'

Plant Common Name

Japanese Beautyberry

General Description

True to its name, 'Heavy Berry' produces masses of vibrant violet berries that persist from late summer into early winter. It also features attractive foliage and a relatively compact habit. It is a cultivar of Callicarpa japonica, a small to medium-sized, hardy, deciduous shrub from woodlands of Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and eastern China.

The medium-green, puckered, oval leaves of 'Heavy Berry' are oppositely paired along slender, arching stems. The leaves have serrated edges and tapered tips. The foliage turns dull yellow in fall, sometimes taking on burgundy tints. In late spring or early summer, many-flowered clusters of small, white to purplish, four-lobed blooms appear in the leaf axils. They are followed by quantities of shiny, bead-like, lavender-mauve fruits that usually persist into winter if not consumed by birds. Like all Japanese beautyberries, 'Heavy Berry' flowers on first-year stems, and fruits most heavily when planted with other callicarpas.

Grow Japanese beautyberry in full to partial sun in well-drained, moderately fertile soil. This shrub becomes leggy and ungainly unless pruned back hard in early spring (plants may die back to the ground in USDA Zone 5 winters). Such pruning also maximizes flowering and fruiting by stimulating new growth. Use Japanese beautyberry for late-summer to early-winter color in a foundation planting, mixed shrub border, or woodland edge. It combines beautifully with other showy-fruited shrubs such as firethorn (Pyracantha) and deciduous hollies(Ilex decidua or Ilex verticillata).

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 3

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    4'-7' / 1.2m - 2.1m (5)

  • Width

    5'-8' / 1.5m - 2.4m (6)

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Eastern Asia, China, Japan, Korea

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Light Pink, Lavender

  • Fruit Color

    Violet

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Purple, Yellow Green, Burgundy

  • Bark Color

    Purple, Olive, Tan, Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Foundation, Hedges, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No