Berried Treasures-Planting the Best Berried Shrubs for Your Fall Garden

Beauty of Winterthur viburnum berries; enjoy them before the birds get them!
Beauty of Winterthur viburnum berries; Enjoy them before the birds get them!
As fall days get cooler, Winterthur Viburnum’s berries turn blue and the foliage turns a glorious shade of orange
Viburnum nudum ‘Pink Beauty’

Viburnums are Stellar

When selecting shrubs and trees to plant in your garden, consider not only the beauty of it’s flowers and foliage, but also the bonus of fruit or berries. Berries add another dimension to the attractiveness of the landscape which can last until late winter. Birds and other wildlife benefit from the berries as an important source of food when most other sources have disappeared. Even birds that primarily feast on insects will switch their diets in the winter to berries in order to survive the long lean winter months.

Viburnums are the king of berry production for me in my garden. For a great article on Viburnums, go to Viburnum for American Gardens by Michael Dirr.

These berries have been stripped of all berries by birds
These berries have been stripped of all berries by birds; notice the burgundy fall foliage of ‘Winterthur’

The list of berry producing shrubs and trees includes service berry, viburnums, roses, beauty berries, hollies, sumacs, persimmons, bayberries, nandinas, and pyracanthas. I have highlighted a few that are easy to grow, last into winter and are particularly showy.

Viburnum dilatatum ‘Cardinal Candy’ is a nicely rounded deciduous shrub that will grow 6 to 8 feet tall. It likes sun or partial sun and carries an incredible display of abundant, glossy red fruit in the fall that persists into winter. It is blanketed with creamy white flowers in the spring and forms an attractive well branched shrub that fits in well with any landscape.  It will cover a steep bank very effectively.

Cardinal Candy Viburnum covering a slope
Cardinal Candy Viburnum covering a slope
Cardinal Candy Viburnum
Cardinal Candy Viburnum

‘Michael Dodge’ has a different berry which sets it apart from most other Viburnums – yellow! Yellow berries are a rarity in the plant world and I treasure this one.

Michael Dodge Viburnum berries
Michael Dodge Viburnum berries

Erie Viburnum has the same red berries as Cardinal Candy, but I particularly like the fireworks display of berries.

Erie Viburnum
Erie Viburnum

Doublefile Viburnums, Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’, are as beautiful in flower as in fruit and does well in shade. Deer tend to steer away from this also which is a big plus. Making a beautiful screen, this deciduous shrub gets as wide as tall and resembles a layered wedding cake.

Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’
Viburnum ‘Mariesii’ in flower

American Beauty-Berry

Purple beauty berries
Purple beauty berries

The American Beauty-Berry (Callicarpa americana ) grows 3 to 5 feet in height and width with long arching branches.  It has yellow-green fall foliage and clusters of striking shiny purple berries held close to the branches.  The berries also come in white.  It is easy to grow in sun or part shade. I cut branches of this shrub and plunge them into vase of water to enjoy the beautiful berries and field a lot of questions about this unusual shrub.

Callicarpa can become a large shrub; Cut back in the spring to keep it small
White Callicarpa
Purple Beauty-Berry

Winterberry Hollies

The very name tells it all. Berries lasting through a good part of winter, this shrub shines in the landscape. An unremarkable bush before the berries emerge and change color, once the leaves shed, this is my favorite berried shrub. Winterberry Ilex verticilatta, come in several sizes and colors.

A perfect Winterberry in the landscape; This is ‘Sparkleberry’

Winterberry Hollies (Ilex verticillata) are deciduous plants. Leaves are mid-green and quite unlike the prickly, shiny leaves of evergreen Hollies, and drop off when frost hits.

Winterberry Holly grows in full sun, partial shade, and even quite dense shade but don’t expect as many berries. Commonly found in wet soil, it also grows well in average soil and tolerates a fair measure of drought once established. It does require an acidic soil. Prune in late winter or after bloom, but be aware that pruning reduces fruit production.

Range of colors of Winterberry
The berries set while the leaves are still present

 

Great use of Winterberry against a wall
Use cut stems for decorating for the Holidays
Orange berries in arrangement

10 Replies to “Berried Treasures-Planting the Best Berried Shrubs for Your Fall Garden”

  1. Snow berry is another good white berry shrub. The wildlife don’t let the berries on my shrubs stay put long enough to be admired. I don’t mind because I plant mainly for them.

Leave a Reply