How to Grow Beautyberry in Your Yard

Asian beautyberry plant in early fall.
Asian beautyberry plant in early fall.

If you’re looking for a plant that’s easy to grow and provides nearly year-round interest, try growing beautyberry. Beautyberry is a medium-sized, deciduous shrub that grows in a pretty cascading umbrella shape.

Beautyberry’s green foliage is speckled with lavender-pink flowers in spring, then the shrub lives up to its name with a spectacular show of intense purple or white berries in fall that last after the leaves have fallen.

Beginning gardeners can’t help but succeed with beautyberry since it’s drought-tolerant, doesn’t need fertilizer, doesn’t require special pruning, and is virtually unharmed by diseases and pests. All in all, beautyberry is about the most low-maintenance a plant you can find.

About Beautyberry

The many varieties of beautyberry are generally divided into two groups:

Spring flowers on beautyberry plant
Spring flowers on beautyberry.
  • American Beautyberry: (Callicarpa americana) is native to the southeastern United States where it can occasionally be spotted growing wild. American beautyberry grows quickly to 5’ tall or more and is winter hardy to zone 7. American beautyberry has been cultivated into varieties with purple or white berries.
  • Asian Beautyberry: Japanese beautyberry (Callicarpa japonica) and Chinese beautyberry (C. dichotoma and C. bodinieri) are cold tolerant to zone 5 but a little less heat tolerant than American beautyberry. They are generally smaller (4’ tall) than American varieties and have smaller berries, but the berries are less concealed by the leaves. Purple or white fruited varieties are available. Asian beautyberries easily spread by dropping seeds and can sometimes become invasive.
Purple berries on beautyberry plant
Spectacular berries on beautyberry plant!

Beautyberry Growing Conditions

  • Light: Beautyberry plants prefer full to partial sun. While they produce more berries in full sun, beautyberry is naturally suited to the edges of woodland areas. The more sun plants receive, the more water they will need.
  • Soil: Beautyberry does best in fertile, well-draining soil but will do fine in all but the poorest of soils.
  • Water: An inch per week is ideal, but beautyberry can tolerate some drought.
Beautyberry plant with green leaves and purple berries
Beautyberry with green foliage and purple berries.

Beautyberry Growing Tips

  • Planting: Beautyberry can be planted in spring or fall. Plant only as deep as the root ball. Most of the time, you can plant beautyberry in native soil, though extremely poor soil should be amended with compost.
  • Fertilizing: Hold off on fertilizing beautyberry, as too much fertilizer will result in fewer berries.
  • Irrigation: Water beautyberry during periods of drought.
  • Pruning: You don’t really need to prune beautyberry, though fast growing varieties can be cut back pretty severely to keep them in shape. In colder zones, some gardeners treat beautyberry like a perennial and cut it nearly to the ground in winter. Since blooms occur on new wood, prune beautyberry while dormant in late winter or early spring.
  • Propagating: Beautyberry can be propagated by seeds or from cuttings. Look around the bottom of your beautyberry for seedlings to transplant.
  • Insects and Disease: Beautyberries are pretty much problem free!

Further Information


  1. The best and most beautiful article I have ever read on the internet about anything. My daughter has two massive ones and discovered babies. She is in Pa and I am in the Adirondack Mts. of NY but I am going to try to plant some “babies”, hopefully before the snow flies!!!
    Thank you very much.

  2. Hi, this article about Beauty Berry states “virtually unharmed by diseases and pests”, something is eating the leaves. Can’t see any pests, any ideas of what it could be?
    I am in zone 8-9 in Sacramento, CA

  3. I have an American Beautyberry in my yard that my husband planted a couple of years ago. It is beautiful now, full of berries, and I love it. It has outgrown its spot, however, and I want to transplant it. Will it survive transplanting and when is the best time of year to do it? I live in southwest Florida.


  4. I am looking for a plant I once saw that was call a Beauty Berry but instead of purple clusters of berries this plant had a single berries hanging from a small stem from underneath the stems at each of the branchletes or leaf attachments. Can anyone identify this plant for me?

  5. Response to Anne:

    Could be a coral berry. I once had one but the nursery called it beauty berry when it was really a coral berry. Does it have pink berries rather than darker purple?

  6. I was inspired the last two years to plan and plant a “japanese garden”. I saw the one in Portland and the Gibb’s Garden in Georgia. Is the japanese beauty bush found in these type of gardens? I have not seen it listed in any Japanese garden books. thanks

  7. Evelyn,

    We live in PA about a 100 yards from the Mason Dixon (I’m from Md) and a beauty berry bush is growing in a neighbor’s yard up the road. I plan to take cuttings from it next summer.

  8. We are native to Virginia but now live in the Southwest part of the NY Catskills. We have started a number of beauty berries from cuttings but now are facing deep freeze of our winters. I have kept them sheltered on the back porch and they are doing fine but they are in pots and I am afraid of freezing roots and killing them. I was thinking of moving them to the basement garage where it stays above freezing but no light, what about indoors in the basement but again minimal light? Otherwise I can just keep them inside upstairs with the other plants with grow lights and just let them manage indoors at 68 degrees. Thanks.

  9. I have a beautyberry bush!I she’s 15 years old, unfortunately her berry bush friend died but didn’t seem to bother it living alone! I think it’s the most beautiful plant ever. Lots of brilliant purple clusters of berries in the late fall when everything else is finished. They make great wreaths too!

    Didn’t know you can cut them down so I’m going to try next fall. I hate to do any pruning but I know it’s healthy for it. Now I find you can propagate by stems or berries hurray! Gonna try it in a few days.

    I live on the eastern end of the north fork of Long Island n.y. Across from the salty Peconic bay and have NO trouble with my beautiful plant! Would like to know if it will grow in salty dirt as I was flooded in hurricane sandy in my lower yard. What else can be planted there, please inform me.
    Thanks for your website! Very informative!

  10. I just purchased my first beautyberry bush, it is in full bloom and beautiful. I live in North Carolina and will plant it in the fall. Your comments have been very helpful to me.

  11. I love the beautyberry bush I have and have gotten lots of plants from the seeds dropping. My trouble is that I have so many seedlings coming up everywhere in the flower bed that it has become a constant chore pulling them out. They come up all though my walkway and even 14feet from the plant. I’m thinking about relocating the plant since it’s so invasive. Any suggestions would be appreciated:-))

  12. I just discovered the wild shrub growing in my back yard is beautyberry. I was afraid it was poisonous, but found out people use the berries to make jelly, so I’ll be harvesting lots of berries this month. The berry color is otherworldly…hardly seems real.

  13. I have a vacant lot next to me and am clearing it back from my property by 6-10 feet or so. I just found a bush with awesomely beautiful purple berries on it and couldn’t wait to get online and find out what it is. Turns out: callicarpa americana! There’s no reason to let this bush grow hidden in the weeds: Tomorrow it gets moved into the open – in a new garden area next to my house.

  14. Southeast MO I have a Beautyberry in my back yard next to the woods. Very few berries on it this year. I have been cutting down most of the sprouts for the last 20 years. This year I let it grow next to the fence. Was I surprised.
    It looks very nice. It is October now and the leaves are giving off a sticky juice all over the leaves on the ground that stick to my shoes. Some bugs are sticking to it also.

  15. I have two beautyberry bushes. One has the drooping branches with purple berries running the length of the branch. The other has large leaves on branches which are more erect. There have never been any berries on it. Do you think it is a male beautyberry or was I duped by the nursery?

    • June,
      Beautyberry are generally considered not very edible, except by deer or bird, and some species are considered inedible, so I wouldn’t advise eating them.

  16. Do they transplant well? I planted one several years back but am selling that house to my son who wants nothing to do with gardening. I am buying a place with a blank slate of a garden and would love to dig it out…it is looking gorgeous right now.

  17. I dug up 2 beauty berry plants and put them in pots in the sandy soil they were growing in. The leaves are turning yellow now. Should I cut them back or leave them alone? They grow wild here on the coast in sand. I notice the leaves are also turning yellow!

  18. I have several beauty berry plants, I think. I purchased seeds from an individual. They are two years old and have not bloomed or had berries. Why?

  19. I’ve seen these berris all my life here in the Florida panhandle & was always told they were poisonous by my parents and other relatives. I have a B.S. IN Botany but never looked it up. Interesting to know my folks were apparently wrong though I’d be very hesitant to eat them myself. Thanks for the info.

  20. we have had our purple berry [that’s what we were told it was called] plant for 15 years now here in Washington state. it is so pretty in the winter time with all its purple berries.

  21. In central florida, in Deland, there are lots of beauty berries. I eat them and so does my 3 year old grandaughter; they sell beautyberry jelly at the organic market.

  22. I have been trying to grow Beautyberries from saplings purchased through the MO Dept of Conservation. Tried 2 orders of 10 (?) and 3 have survived. They have always died back for winter and the ones that survive start growing mid-May. Planted them on our property line out in the open so full sun and good drainage so not sure why they didn’t do well, except maybe not the right amount of water. Thinking of moving at least one into an island bed closer to the house which will get some shade and more attention. Love the colored berries and we are bird watchers. Hopefully they will bear fruit and the birds will enjoy the plants.

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  24. There are different types of beautyberry. When I didn’t know better I ordered “beautyberry” and got what I think was the American beautyberry which I didn’t care for. It grows more like a tree. Now I have learned I like “Issai” which is Japanese beautyberry. It grows more like an arching weeping willow. Not that large of course. Do your homework.

  25. I live in S.C. where this Beautyberry is a Native plant and had bought one from the State Farmers Market a couple years ago and this year I am seeing LOTS of small ones popping up everywhere in the area it’s planted in and wondering if I can just pull them up and replant them where I want them to grow or if I need to put them in pots until they get a little bigger

  26. At least some species of this bush has edible berries. They aren’t particularly tasty, but some like to freeze them to use in smoothies all year long. They lose their color when frozen.

    Their leaves produce a natural insect repellent. Our ancestors used to crush the leaves and rub them on their skin and on their horses’ faces and bodies to repel biting insects.

  27. I have noticed a beauty berry plant growing in a pot that had a cactus in it. The cactus plant was beside the beauty berry bush that we had planted in the fall of 2016. I’m assuming some of the berries had fallen off of the plant into the pot and took root. Anyone else have that happen?

  28. Last September here in Palm Beach County, Florida I took an 8 inch cutting of a beauty berry growing on a vacant lot, and placed it in a pot of potting mix , kept it damp. It took root in less than 4 weeks.
    I now have it growing in a 5 gal. pot ‘ It is about 28 inches tall, has been blooming for a couple of months. It is still in bloom , and has purple berries on the lower part of the trunk, green berries midway up and new blooms and more buds forming near the top of the plant.. It is in full sun and I water it every other day, unless it rains.

    • That’s so awesome. Glad to hear it worked for you.
      Thanks for sharing your experience with the community, Ken!

      Take care. 🙂

  29. I was given a branch off an American Beauty Bush, loaded with berries. I put them in a tray of soil, kept it moist, and some sprouted. When they were big enough I transplanted into bigger pots, the largest I put in my flower garden. Something ate the ends of the branches during the winter, but it has new growth all over it this Spring. More of the seeds sprouted later, needed more soaking, I guess. This is in the Northeast, should they be able to survive our Winters and grow larger?

  30. I planted one beautiful Early Amethyst beauty berry bush @10 years ago, was truly lovely, and I so enjoyed it, as well as the birds, then….the invasiveness began about 4 years ago. I now have six full grown plus tons of babies…everywhere! I would advise NOT to plant these in a bed. They take over everything else. I will be removing all vestiges of this plant as it has become more work than I am able to keep up with. I am in Zone7/8, Central AR.

  31. I just found one of these berries in my garden bed. The birds have given back to me since I feed them and give them fresh water everyday. I planted this berry and I hope it grows into a beautiful bush so they can always have fresh food to eat.


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