Last month, I shared information on firebush, also known as scarlet bush and Hamelia patens. This month, the second shrub that is a must-have in my landscape is beautyberry, also called Callicarpa americana.
It prefers part sun/part shade and does well in full shade. However, I have some that are in nearly full sun and perform quite well. This native plant can reach a height and spread of 6-7 feet.
Beautyberry can be used as a border plant, in mass planting, naturalized or in large containers. Allow for sufficient space. It prefers well-drained soil moisture, has high drought tolerance and low to no salt tolerance.
Beautyberry is deciduous and produces purple/light purple flowers from spring through fall that provide small fruits for wildlife. There is a beautyberry variety, Callicarpus americana var. lactea, that produces white flowers and fruits which are also quite attractive in the landscape. Propagation is from seeds or cuttings.
For more information, see https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp090.
If site conditions are right, firebush and beautyberry shrubs are two Florida native must-haves. They are strikingly beautiful, and maintenance is simple. If you are like me and you cannot stop at two, check out the University of Florida’s website to learn more about Florida natives at https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/lawn-and-garden/native-plants/.
Visit our calendar of events for gardening workshops and other educational opportunities at https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/hillsborough/upcoming-events/. Please contact our office if you have questions at 744-5519.
Thank you, and be safe.