Berry good year
It seems to have been an excellent late summer and autumn for fruiting plants. Hawthorns and cotoneasters have been looking particularly splendid this year, dripping with berries. Callicarpa, one of the more unusual fruiting plants, is still bejewelled with berries bringing a splash of colour to the shrub border.
One of the best and most popular varieties is Callicarpa bodinieri ‘Profusion’. This mediumsized deciduous shrub has attractive bronzypurple spring foliage with panicles of small lilac-purple flowers in summer followed in autumn by eye-catching purple berries which often hang on the plant into winter. Callicarpa dichotoma is another attractive shrub bearing its lavender pink flowers on arching branches in summer followed by masses of lilac-purple berries in autumn.
For white berries Callicarpa japonica ‘Leucocarpa’ is well worth a try; it has pale pinky-white flowers in summer followed by masses of ivory white berries in autumn. The leaves of callicarpas also have tints of yellow and bronze in autumn before falling.
Callicarpas are best planted in small groups to ensure good pollination and lots of berries; plant in well-drained, moderately fertile neutral to acid soil in sun or partial shade. Planting in soil which is too alkaline may cause foliage to turn yellow. Any pruning should be carried out just as the buds are swelling in early spring as callicarpas flower and berry on the new season’s growth.
Callicarpa bodinieri ‘Profusion’
Callicarpa japonica ‘Leucocarpa’