Unique berry producing plants are always welcome in my garden. What do I mean by unique? I'm glad you asked! If you didn't ask then bear with me anyway. To me a unique berry plant is one that may not be in everyone's landscape. Plants that look spectacular because of the berries and the berries aren't just an added bonus. To me most hollies don't fit this bill. When I think of a holy I think of glossy evergreen leaves then the berries. If you consider the deciduous hollies my opinion changes. The stark nakedness of their winter forms laden with berries is special and unique. I anticipate adding these to my landscape eventually once I establish the right spot for them but for now I have some other unique and, in my opinion, "berry good" plants!
The berries are green right now on my American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) but this fall they will change to a spectacular purple color. As the name suggests it is an American native and is great for feeding birds and wildlife.
The berries form along the stem in clusters. They grow well from seed and reportedly are easy to propagate. I'll let you know on that one soon since I have some cuttings in progress. If I can beat the birds to the ripe berries I'll start some from the seeds.
This picture was taken on a trip to the Nashville Zoo last year. It's funny that I took almost as many plant pictures as animal pictures but I think you can see why this one attracted my eye.
Another favorite of mine is viburnum. This one is an arrowwood viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) named so because the American indians used the wood for making arrows. 'Morton' is the cultivar. The blue berries are very attractive to birds. There are many kinds of viburnums out there to choose from and if you are interested in learning more about them I highly recommend Michael Dirr's book titled Viburnums
. Catchy title!
Above you can see the green berries beginning the transition to their ripened blue coloring.
When these berries complete their process they won't last long, the birds will find them fast! As will a certain gardener who loves to make new plants.
Also as TC mentions below in the comments Viburnums can have a serious issue with the Viburnum Leaf Beetle. For some good information on them check out Cornell University. They also have a list of viburnums based on their susceptibility to the Viburnum Leaf Beetle that would be quite handy in selecting a variety that is resistant.
One other plant in my landscape that will be bountiful with berries this season is the pyracantha. It's commonly called 'Firethorn' due to the fiery color of its berries and the sharp prickly spikes you will find all along it's branches. We're still in the green stages but there are many berries that will turn a bright orange this fall. New plants can be made from the seeds or from cuttings. Birds like this one as well. My wife's parents have a pyracantha in their front yard and couldn't figure out why there were no berries. One day they watched as a flock of ten or more chickadees darted among the branches cleaning it out before the berries were even ripe. Even if you don't get to enjoy the beauty of the orange-red berries yourself, someone else might!
While there are many unique berry producing plants that would be great to talk about these are the three I like best in my garden. What's your favorite berry producing plant?
Labels: garden design, native plants, shrubs