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CALLICARPA japonica 'Leucocarpa'

Image of Callicarpa japonica 'Leucocarpa'

James H. Schutte

Family

Verbenaceae

Botanical Name

CALLICARPA japonica 'Leucocarpa'

Plant Common Name

Japanese Beautyberry

General Description

Callicarpa japonica 'Leucocarpa' is an arresting sight in fall and early winter when clusters of creamy white fruits adorn its branches. Its parent species is native to woodlands of Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and eastern China.

The light- to medium-green, oval to lance-shaped leaves of this small to medium-sized, hardy, deciduous shrub are oppositely paired along slender, arching stems. The foliage turns dull yellow in fall, sometimes taking on purple tints. In late spring or early summer, tufted clusters of small, white to purplish, four-lobed flowers appear in the leaf axils. They are followed by waxy, bead-like, ivory-white fruits that usually persist into winter if not consumed by birds. Like all callicarpas, Japanese beautyberry flowers on first-year stems, and fruits most heavily when planted in groups.

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

  • Height

    4'-8' / 1.2m - 2.4m (5)

  • Width

    5'-10' / 1.5m - 3.0m (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

    White, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Purple, Yellow Green

  • Bark Color

    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, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No