Pruning Flowering Shrubs – American Beautyberry Bush
The purple berries are what attracted me to this plant. If you have seen one, or photos of a beautyberry bush, you know what I mean. The berries are such a clear and jewel-like purple that I just had to have one. And I got mine from my daughter.
She had the plant in her garden but did not like where it was located. It was a young plant but was planted up next to the house and with its wide arching branches which want to grow up and arch out on each side, she really didn’t have the room there. So she decided to give it up. And I was more than glad to take it off her hands.
So this one was a transplant over to my house and it made the transition really well. I planted it near a fence but it has both sides to extend its branches and it seems to be thriving. It is shaded in the afternoon by the house, so I think I would even have more berries if it were in “fuller” sun.
American Beautyberry Bush is a Native Plant
I am in Ohio zone 6 and this is a “die-back” shrub in my zone. It dies to the ground most winters. This is a great reason why I like it. I like the idea that it gets a fresh start every year, just like a butterfly bush or Buddleia. I have had a few colors of that bush but my problem with it was…….I had too many of them.
The butterfly bush has the same grow and die-back as the beautyberry. But for me here in Ohio, I had so many sprouts all over of the butterfly bush, I just couldn’t handle it. I think the butterfly bush is harder to keep attractive since it keeps blooming when I deadhead it ( I don’t like the dead flowers left on) , but that is so much work and I don’t need more work it the garden.
I can have the American beautyberry bush in my garden and have the purple berries in the fall just when my garden needs the color. Here in Ohio, that seems to be October when it’s at its best.
These shrubs take full sun but will grow well in part sun but may produce fewer berries. Birds, butterflies, and bees love this plant when it blooms even though the flowers are not very noticeable.
In the fall, birds eat the berries too. I understand you can make jelly from the berries but I have never tried that, nor have I eaten any of the berries myself.
In late winter or early spring in Ohio, I have cut this down to the ground. The blooms and berries occur on new growth so that is how you will get a lot of berries. I have left it alone one year and it did grow out, but there were very few berries on a few bottom branches. So my practice since then has been to cut it down to the ground in spring and I have not been disappointed.
Overall I really like this plant. It grows about 6 foot tall and tends to want to arch outward so I feel it suits the spot I have it planted. I think it would be great as a specimen plant out in the yard so that it could be seen from all sides, but my husband just hates it when I plant something in the yard and he has to mow around it. I guess I will keep it in the garden and keep him happy.
Do you have one of these? How do you like it?