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Most of us think of winter as the time when all the beautiful flowers and plants we’ve added to our garden disappear and we’re stuck with the bleak absence of bright colors in our yard until spring rolls back around. For many of our favorite blooms, that’s all true — but you can rely on the vibrant fruit of beautyberry bushes to add a dash of color even in the colder temperatures.
Gardenista explains how beautyberry bushes, or Callicarpa americana, begin to grow fruit in the summer with surrounding leaves in full foliage. Over time, the pale berries turn a bright shade of lavender or violet. When winter comes, the leaves fall away and the fruit gets to shine all on its own — meaning you can liven up your whole yard with the cheerful berries. Plus, the berries are safe to eat! Although they don’t have a strong flavor, they do add their stunning hue to jellies and drinks.
The bushes are able to grow in almost any climate and type of soil, according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The branches usually grow about three to five feet in height and width, but can reach as high as nine feet. The seeds and berries are also the favorite snack of several beautiful bird species, such as the Northern Bobwhite, so adding a few of these bushes to your landscape will also earn you some grateful feathered friends.
Trimming the branches during winter encourages a more compact growth. That means you can cut off a few branches and combine them with some bright red holly for a unique Christmas wreath or add a dash of rustic charm to your home decor. Whatever you do, your winter will look a lot less drab with these berries scattered around your yard and home. The seeds are also fairly cheap ($5.15, Amazon), so there’s really nothing holding you back from having the brightest yard in the neighborhood this year!