A Must Have In the Garden: Callicarpa Beautyberry Bush

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Callicarpa commonly known as Beautyberry is a beautiful shrub grown for its bright almost neon purple berries that show up in late summer when everything else is dying back.

Learn about the beautyberry bush and how easy it is to grow with several images to see during its seasonal growth.


There are over 140 species of the Callicarpa. The American beautyberry C. americana is native to the southeastern part of the United States. The plant I have in my garden is C. dichotoma ‘Early Amethyst,”  a Korean cultivar that fruits a little earlier, has an overall slightly smaller shape and is hardy to zone 5. The beautyberry is easy to grow in full sun or partial shade. It tolerates drought well and has few pest or disease issues.

Beautyberry Bush - flowers ~gardenmatter.com

In the spring I cut this shrub back to a foot and by late mid-summer it grows back to its full stature of around five feet tall by eight feet wide. This early pruning helps promote more prolific berries in the summer.

Beautyberry in May ~ gardenmatter.com

Beautyberry Bush - full size

Interestingly, the native beautyberry was said to be used by Native Americans for rheumatism, fevers, and malaria, stomach aches and colic.  Today many people make beautyberry jelly from the berries and an insect repellent from the leaves. See this article from mother earth news about how the active ingredients from the beautyberry are compared to DEET.

Beautyberry Bush - seedling

Occasionally I find a seedling.

As a bonus, it is not unusual to find a seedling or two, though the beautyberry is far from invasive. You may find this beauty at your local nursery, as they almost always have current bloomers for sale but if not, you can certainly find one through a mail order catalog online. Add it to your wish list. Great color, easy to grow, and low maintenance makes the beautyberry bush a must have for any garden. Check out my article on 5 Must Have Shrubs for Your Garden to learn a little more about the Beautyberry and a other great specimens.

Learn about the beautyberry bush and how easy it is to grow with several images to see during its seasonal growth.


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About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Garden Matter, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

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  1. Thanks for sharing! I always like hearing about more unusual plants from other gardeners. Love your pictures of the berries – very pretty!

  2. Thanks Susan,

    I especially love sharing those that are easy to grow. My beautyberry bush is so pretty this time of year. It’s just screaming, “Take a picture of me!” 🙂

  3. Wow! What a fabulous find! Is this a nursery plant or something to look for at Home Depot or Lowes?

    • You should be able to find some variety of callicarpa in a Home Depot or Lowes. I would check now because they always bring it what’s currently in bloom. You are going to love it.

  4. What a beautiful shrub! I found your lovely blog on the SITS Sharefest & now I’m following you on Twitter.

  5. Beautyberry has always been one of my favorites so when we re-landscaped our yard with all Texas natives (and a lot of shade), it was one of the first plants I got. Now it’s as tall as the fence and covered in berries, and I never have to water it, even through our south Texas summers. I need to attempt beautyberry jelly soon though!

    • You definitely should try making the jelly. Apparently mine is more ornamental but I just may try making a homemade bug spray with the leaves next year.

  6. About a month ago i went for a drive- I’m in North Texas and encountered a bush very similar to this. I’m going to have to look back through my photos to see if it is the same. It was beautiful and growing wild everywhere in this one area. Ir caught my attention for sure, the color was amazing. Great post and glad I found your blog.

    Carole @ Garden Up green

    • Hi Carole,

      Thanks so much for your reply. I bet those were Beautyberry bushes that you saw in Texas. They are native to the south and those are the ones from which people make the jelly so I’m sure the birds and other wildlife will find them soon. My Beautyberry is an ornamental one and is said to be bitter so I have not tried it and have noticed the birds leave it alone except for one year during early winter I had bluebirds on it which was a wonderful surprise because I rarely see them in PA. So glad you stopped by.

  7. I have a huge beautyberry. It’s beautiful. Can I root cuttings?

    • Hi Helen,

      I have found a few babies that have sprung up near this bush in the spring so you may find the same. Also, I haven’t rooted them myself but I would venture to guess that it would root easily from cuttings and certainly worth a try. Let me know how it turns out.
      Thanks for stopping by,

  8. Nancy Dorin says:

    I have a beauty berry but it hasn’t bloomed yet. Does it have to be a certain age before blooming?
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Hi Nancy,

      That’s so disappointing. Mine has bloomed from the start. One thing I do is cut it back severely in the spring. I’m talking 6 – 8 inches from the ground. I learned this at a garden symposium that it performs best on new growth. Don’t worry. It grows 5 – 6 feet tall by Sept. The only other thing I can think of is make sure it gets full sun.

      Thanks for stopping by,

  9. This has been on my wish list for awhile now and for some reason I have failed to get one. I have never seen one locally but it sounds like they are easy to grow. I just need to bite the bullet and get one ordered. I also saw your pumpkin chipotle soup recipe and it sounds amazing. We love anything chipotle.

    • Hi Pamela,

      The Beautyberry is such a nice shrub for me because nothing else is blooming at this time. We do have great fall color but nothing as bright as the purple berries.

      Here’s where I purchased mine though it may be too far to send to CA? I also see if for sale around here at this time of year.


      PS the leaves are not chartreuse as shown on WFF website.

      Oh and thank for the kind comment about the pumpkin soup. I was feeling like I needed to make something with those pie pumpkins and then they turned out to be duds. Oh well, stuff happens.
      Thanks for stopping by,

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