Beautyberry: A Jewel of a Plant for BC Gardens in Winter

This spectacular plant provides a burst of colour during the dreary winter months

No photoshop required: the beautyberry stuns with absolutely brilliant colour

Beautyberry provides vivid colour during the grey, washed-out months of winter

While the jewel-like purple berries of beautyberry (Callicarpa bodinieri ‘Profusion’; Callicarpa meaning “beauty” and “fruit”) are striking enough to stand out in any season, on the bare branches of winter – after the last leaf on this deciduous perennial has fluttered to the ground – they can be breathtaking.

Hardy to zone 5, beautyberry is a perfect fit for many BC gardens, supporting numerous species of birds through the winter. While the berries are not tasty enough for our tables, they are not toxic and can be used for medicinal purposes.

Birds eat them if food is scarce in the winter, and deer will treat them as a last resort when foraging. The growers at Monrovia suggest coupling beautyberry with peonies and heavenly bamboo for an Asian-inspired design. Or grow it with penstemon, sage, lavender, coneflower and pinks for a bird and butterfly sanctuary.

Reaching up to 2 metres (6 ft.), beautyberry can be pruned for a tidy shape in spring. In the northwest, it is best grown in full sun with humousy, acidic, well-drained soil.