American Beautyberry Shrub (Callicarpa americana): Planting, Growing Tips

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | February 5, 2024

Woman looking at an American beautyberry shrub (callicarpa americana) after learning how to identify types of beauty berry plants, how to grow beautyberry, care and planting tips.

You can’t help but fall in love with the ‘Beautyberry,’ which certainly levels up to its name.

It is indeed a beautiful shrub that will make a bold statement when growing in your home. What starts out simple and ordinary shows its true self late in summer when you notice bright purple berries clustered up together that stay on long after the leaves have dropped.

Perhaps the best part about growing the Beautyberry shrub is the tasty fruits that are an absolute favorite for wildlife, birds, and mammals alike. The bush is a perfect addition to your landscaping.

This full guide explains how to identify the American Beautyberry shrub (Callicarpa americana), and outlines planting and growing tips to ensure that yours flourishes.

Growing a Beautyberry From a Seed, Cutting, or Seedling

Do you want to grow a tree or shrub all on your own?

Graphics with illustration and text showing ways of growing a beautyberry from a seed, cutting, or seedling.

If you are eyeing the Callicarpa americana, here is how to plant one from scratch.6

From a Seed

Pick the seeds from the berries, clean them, then soak them for a day. You can start them indoors, digging them 1/16 inches deep in trays filled with potting mix.

Make sure that you place the container in a well-lit, warm, sunny spot and regularly mist using a spray bottle until you see the seedlings peaking out. It should be safe to transplant in three months.

From Seedling

If you find it tedious to plant from the seeds, you can opt for seedlings. Just find the perfect spot outdoors where there is sunlight, and the soil is well draining and transplant when the danger of frost has passed.

From Cuttings

The cheapest and most convenient way to go is to plant using cuttings. All you need is a 6-inch long stem with the lower leaves removed.

Dip the end in rooting hormone and plant it, covering it with a clear plastic bag and placing it in indirect light. Keep the soil potting mix moist, and you should soon see root development, indicating that it is time for transplanting.1

Best Growing Conditions for Beautyberry

It is pretty easy to see a Beautyberry that is well taken care of. If you want nothing but seamlessness when looking after your shrub, here are some factors to keep in mind.


Watering a tree is non-negotiable unless you are xeriscaping. As for the watering needs for Beautyberry plants, you will appreciate the fact that the shrubs are able to endure dry conditions.

All in all, an inch of watering in a week will do, but you can adjust accordingly if there is rainfall or during the scorching summers.


How much sunlight does Beautyberry need each day? The last thing you want is to affect the growth of flowers and berries by growing your shrub in a fully shaded spot.

Typically, the bush needs at least 2 hours of direct sunlight each and every day, so you can grow it even under partial shade. But remember that the more sun exposure, the higher the berry production.


You are good to go if the soil in your region is slightly acidic or neutral, rich in organic matter, and with excellent drainage. You may have to add a little fertilizer if your soil is lacking in nutrients, but not too much, or else the production of berries will reduce; one or two shovels should be enough.7

Planting Tips for Beautyberry Bush

It helps that the shrub is not that demanding and generally easy to grow, but the following are additional planting tips for Beautyberry that you might find helpful.

  • When To Plant Beautyberry for the Best Yield?

For the best results, the best time to plant the Beautyberry is either in fall or spring.3 This way, you will be certain that there is no danger of frost, so your plant has more than enough time to grow and establish itself.

  • How Far Apart To Plant Beautyberry?

Considering the fact that the Beautyberry is one shrub that grows wild, reaching 3-6 feet wide, it is best to plant them 5-7 feet apart or more based on your needs and, of course, the cultivar you choose.

Ideal Beautyberry Growing Zone

The planting zones for the Beautyberry varieties vary depending on where they come from. For instance, the Asian breed is more tolerant of the cold, so it works for regions that experience colder winters.

But, on the other hand, for the American Beautyberry, the growing zones for Beautyberry (where to grow it for the perfect yield) are in USDA zones 6-10, which means that it is best for regions that are a little bit warmer.

Beautyberry Growth Rate: How Fast Does the Beautyberry Grow?

You have to consider how long does it take for a tree to grow because it will practically influence your decision, depending on your needs. In perspective, if you are planning to grow a shrub as a hedge or privacy screen, you have to check how long it takes to grow Beautyberry.

Closeup of Beautyberry plant showcasing green, velvety leaves and clusters of vivid purple berry.

(Photo by David J. Stang9)

You are in luck because the shrub is one of the fastest growers, achieving 1-2 feet in height in just a single year.

Companion Plants for Growing Beautyberry

It is a form of art to know how to pair up landscaping trees for the best looks and functionality. You can do the same with your Beautyberry to add color to your garden and also improve the health of the shrub.4

The best companions that will get the job done and they include the coneflowers, coreopsis, butterfly weed, hibiscus, spicebush, goldenrod, Tatarian aster, fothergilla, and many other colorful shrubs as far as your creativity can go.

Common Problems of the American Beautyberry

The Beautyberry is undeniably stunning, and you have to do all that you can to keep yours that way. There is one challenge, though, the danger of pests and diseases that not only ruin its aesthetics but also, in extreme cases, endanger its life.8

Pests of the American Beautyberry

Luckily, this is one shrub that is very vulnerable to pests. In fact, it is known to be an effective insect repellent because many pests hate the smell and taste of the plant parts.

However, the common pests of the Beautyberry include caterpillars and aphids, which feast on the plant’s leaves and cause chlorosis, interfere with photosynthesis, and lead to premature leaf fall.

Pest Control for the Beautyberry

In the rare case that you do identify that your shrub has been attacked by pests, the very first option is to deploy natural pest control for Beautyberry. Using chemical methods like insecticides may come to mind, but gardeners worry that they are not safe for their plants or the environment.

Perhaps you can try handpicking or manual removal for the larger pests, or if not, use insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Common Diseases of the Beautyberry

One of the many perks of planting a Beautyberry is the fact that you don’t really have to worry about diseases, at least not like other plants. But still, you have to be on the lookout for infections like leaf spots and black mold.

Unfortunately, these ones are the common ones known to attack the Beautyberry leaves and other parts of the plant, and they leave behind gnarly wounds or, in severe cases, could be the end of your plant’s life.

How To Stop Beautyberry Disease

The last thing that you want is to deal with fungal, bacterial and viral diseases. They are every gardener’s worst nightmare because they are a pain to deal with and, most importantly, the leading cause of the death of plants.

This explains why Beautyberry disease prevention should always be on your mind; that way, you wouldn’t even have to deal with the diseases.

The most important thing is to make sure that your plant has got everything that it needs, it is well watered, planted in rich, well-draining soil, and on a sunny spot.

In the event that you see signs of an infection, maybe on the leaves or branches, the most important step is to chop off the affected parts and later dispose of them before the diseases get out of hand and kill the entire plant.

American Beautyberry, French mulberry, American Mulberry

(Callicarpa americana)

American Beautyberry shrub image in circle frame on green background.
  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • Genus: Callicarpa
  • Leaf: Ovate in shape, hairy on the undersides, with serrated margins, arranged in an opposite pattern
  • Bark: Smooth surface, reddish brown in color when young, light brown when older
  • Seed: 2 to 4 contained in a single drupe or berry, measuring 1/16 inches long
  • Blossoms: White, blue, pink, or purple in color, less than an inch wide
  • Fruit: Blue or purple edible berries, smaller than an inch wide
  • Native Habitat: North America
  • Height: 3-8 feet high
  • Canopy: 3-6 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Native Growing Zone: USDA zones 6-10

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Ranking

Least Concern


The American Beautyberry

Are you just finding out about this stunning shrub? There are some fascinating Beautyberry facts that you have to know.

For one, the American Beautyberry/ American mulberry is native to the US, standing proud with its signature light green leaves and tiny flowers that give way to clusters of bright purple berries. It is these fruits that make it the special shrub because many bird and animal species can’t get enough of them.

Graphics with text and images showing the common types of beautyberry such as american, asian, profusion, duet, and pearl glam.

Imagine a source of food for over 40 songbird varieties, from mockingbirds to finches. Foxes, squirrels, and other mammals are also huge fans of the juicy drupes.

You will also love the berries, eating them raw or processing them into mouth-watering jams and pies. That’s not all, did you know that the Native Americans used the plant parts to help cure malaria, colic stomach aches, and dizziness?2

Common Types of Beautyberry Plant

When it comes to the types of trees and shrubs under the Beautyberry umbrella, there are more than 140 varieties, but only a handful of them are commonly used for ornamental purposes.5 One is native to North America, while the others are from Asia.

American Beautyberry

This is the famous Callicarpa americana, native to various regions in America, from Maryland to Florida and all the way to Texas. It is considered one of the largest members of the Beautyberry family, thanks to its 6-10 foot height.

Asian Beautyberry

The most popular Beautyberry varieties that are native to Asia include the Callicarpa japonica, Callicarpa dichotoma (from Japan), and the Callicarpa bodinieri (from China). These ones are notably more cold-tolerant than the American variety, ideal if you live in colder states.

In addition, there are also hybrid cultivars that also do pretty well, like the following:

  • Pearl Glam Beautyberry: The distinct feature of this hybrid is that it tends to grow more upright than most other beautyberries, meaning that you can plant it even in a tiny space.
  • Profusion: This one is more widely known for how heavily it fruits and how the leaves drastically change color from bronze to green and then purple.
  • Duet: One stunning hybrid that effortlessly stands out from the crowd is the duet with exceptional variegated leaves, green with white margins.

How To Identify Beautyberry

Probably the fastest way to tell that you are indeed looking at an American Beautyberry is if you see clusters of beautiful blue and purple berries.

Graphics showing how to identify beautyberry through its leaf, flowers, and seeds with data of average annual extreme minimum temperature for growing the plant.

(Seeds Image: Omar hoftun10)

But that aside, you can also use other plant parts to be certain.

Beautyberry Leaves

If the leaves are simple, arranged in an opposite pattern, ovate in shape and with serrated margins, measuring 3-6 inches long, and turn golden yellow in fall, know that you are dealing with a Beautyberry shrub.

Beautyberry Flower

Shrub and tree pollination are the main reasons why you enjoy the tasty Beautyberry fruits you love, all thanks to the flowers. Depending on the particular variety or hybrid, the flowers can coil into blue, white, pink, or purple petals, showing up in clusters between spring and summer.

Beautyberry Seeds

Inside the ¼ inches-long berries are tiny 2-4 Beautyberry seeds, measuring around 1/16 inches long. They are also edible, but of course, not as tasty as the actual fruits.

It is without a doubt that the American Beautyberry ticks so many boxes in the list of qualities of the perfect landscaping shrubs. Not only is it breathtaking, but also doesn’t need that much care and maintenance from you.

Clusters of small, bright purple Beautyberry fruits attached on branches of the plant with some blurred orange foliage from other plants in the distance.

(Photo by: Peter141111)

Probably the favorite aspect about it is that it also produces tasty berries that you will love and that songbirds can’t seem to get enough of. Get ready to spot pollinators, birds and mammals in your home.

Look no further if you need an attention-grabbing plant that is easy to look after. What’s more is that, unlike other bushes, you don’t have to worry so much about pests and diseases.

Plant the American Beautyberry even if you are a beginner, and watch how easy gardening can become gorgeous.

Frequently Asked Questions About Beautyberry

Can You Eat American Beautyberry?

The blue and purple berries of the American Beautyberry are edible for both humans and animals, and they are actually really tasty. They are absolute favorites for birds, and you will likely find them flocking around your home to get a bite.

Is the Purple Berry of the American Beautyberry Poisonous?

The fruits from the American Beautyberry are safe to eat and not at all poisonous. You can eat them raw or use them to make jam. However, some people have reported having stomach upset after eating them.

What Is the Difference Between Japanese Beautyberry and American Beautyberry?

The American Beautyberry is generally taller than the Japanese cultivar, which takes a shorter and more weeping-like form. But, on the other hand, the American variety is not as cold hardy and better for planting in warmer temperatures.


1Beaulieu, D. (2023, July 19). How To Grow and Care For Beautyberry. The Spruce. Retrieved December 13, 2023, from <>

2Heber, G. (2019, September 3). How to Grow and Care for American Beautyberry Shrubs. Gardener’s Path. Retrieved December 13, 2023, from <>

3McAlpine, L. (2023, May 12). How to Plant and Grow Beautyberry. Better Homes & Gardens. Retrieved December 13, 2023, from <>

4Velasquez, J. (2023, May 18). Complement Your Garden With Beautyberry Companion Plants. ShunCy. Retrieved December 13, 2023, from <>

5Hodges, J., & Williamson, J. (2015, December 8). Beautyberry | Home & Garden Information Center. [email protected]. Retrieved January 6, 2024, from <>

6Callicarpa americana (American Beautyberry, American Mulberry, Beautyberry, French Mulberry, Sour-bush) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. (n.d.). North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. Retrieved January 6, 2024, from <>

7Nov 23, & Print, 2009 |. (n.d.). American Beautyberry. Home & Garden Information Center | Clemson University, South Carolina. Retrieved December 21, 2023, from <>

8Brakie, M. (n.d.). American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) Plant Fact Sheet. USDA Plants Database. Retrieved January 6, 2024, from <>

9Callicarpa dichotoma 2zz‌ Photo by David J. Stang / Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International. Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved January 19, 2024, from <>

10Callicarpa americana seeds Photo by Omar hoftun / Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International. Cropped and remixed with graphics, other images, and text. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved January 5, 2024, from <,_by_Omar_Hoftun.jpg>

11Bodinier beautyberry, Fruits, Branches image. Photo by Peter1411. Cropped, Resized, and Changed Format. Pixabay. Retrieved January 19, 2024 from <>

12Beautyberry Species Card Image by Ava Everett. Cropped and remixed with graphics and text. Unsplash. Retrieved January 5, 2024, from <>