Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Berry Producing Shrubs: Color in the Landscape

Berry Producing Shrubs
There are a variety of wonderful berry producing shrubs that can add color and interest to the landscape. Some of these shrubs include Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo), Ilex 'Nellie R. Stevens' (Nellie Stevens Holly), Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grape Holly), Barberry 'Rosy Glow' (Rosy Glow Barberry), Ilex verticillata (Winterberry) and Callicarpa Americana (Beauty Bush). All of these shrubs add color and interest to the landscape throughout the different seasons and are an important food source for birds as well.
Callicarpa Americana (Beauty Bush)

Callicarpa Americana or Beauty Bush is known for its beautiful purple berries produced in fall on open cascading branches. It is a native to  North America and is enjoyed by many as an addition to the natural garden. This plant is deciduous, is hardy to USDA zones 7-10 and does best in full sun to partial shade.
Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo)

Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo) is not a bamboo at all but a hybrid evergreen plant that produces white flowers in spring followed by vibrant pinkish-red berries in late summer to fall that last throughout the winter months. Nandina prefers full sun to partial shade, is hardy in zones 4-10, and grows to approximately 5-8 feet tall.  There are also dwarf cultivars such as Nandina domestica 'Firepower' that stay on the smaller side to approximately 2-3 feet in height.

Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grape Holly) 

Another interesting plant is Mahonia aquifolium or Oregon Grape Holly.  Known for its purple-blue grape-like berries in summer preceded by yellow blooms in spring it makes a nice addition to the natural garden. Mahonia is a bold broadleaf evergreen shrub with deep green summer foliage and deep burgundy-bronze winter foliage.  It has a holly appearance but is related to the barberry.  Mahonia grows to 3-6 feet tall and wide and is hardy to USDA Zone 5.
Ilex 'Nellie R. Stevens' (Nellie Stevens Holly) 

If you are looking for more of a privacy screening then Ilex 'Nellie Stevens' or Nellie Stevens Holly may be the plant for you. This holly has a showy dark green glossy foliage and produces bright red berries throughout fall and winter. Ilex 'Nellie Stevens' grows to 15-25 in height by approximately 10 feet in width and is hardy to USDA Zone 6.  It prefers to be grown in full to partial sun with afternoon shade and keeps its beautiful deep green foliage throughout the winter.  
Barberris 'Rosy Glow' (Rosy Glow Barberry) in Winter

Barberris thunbergii 'Rosy Glow' (Rosy Glow Barberry) is a deciduous berry producing shrub growing 2-3 feet tall that exhibits bright burgundy foliage throughout the entire summer followed by bright red berries throughout winter that are a favorite food for your winter bird friends. The initial foliage of this plant is a purplish color mottled with pink to red splotches that matures into a deep burgundy followed by insignificant yellow flowers and red berries. There are many forms of barberry including Barberris 'Royal Burgundy', a smaller version growing 1-2 feet in height and a personal favorite!  Barberry  is hardy in USDA Zones 4-8 and prefers to be grown in full sun.
Ilex verticillata (Winterberry)

Ilex verticillata or Winterberry is native to the eastern portion of North America and southeastern portion of Canada and is hardy in zones USDA 3-9. It is one of the deciduous forms of holly growing 5-15 feet tall, preferring partial shade and moist conditions. The attractive red fruits of Winterberry are a food source to many small mammals and more than 48 species of birds. It is commonly used in landscaping in its native northeastern location and provides nice winter interest. Winterberry is not self pollinating so its does require one male plant per group of females in order for the females to produce their vibrant berries.

Color and interest can be achieved in the landscape throughout the entire year. Try incorporating any of these berry-producing plants into your garden and enjoy the benefits they have to offer. You will experience vibrant color in your landscape and all season interest while providing a natural food source for your feathered visitors!   

As Always...Happy gardening!

Author: Lee @A Guide To Northeastern Gardening Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.


  1. You have my brain stirring now with all of these beauties. I have inundated with deer and have had them destroy a beautyberry before but damn I love that shrub. I am probably most intrigued with the Mahonia so will need to look for that one in spring.

  2. I'm partial to Beautyberry as well. Another favorite of mine is Nandina 'domestica'. Its berries are just wonderful and it is hardy in my zone 6b.

  3. ONG-Mahonia is on the deer resistant list and does have holly like leaves so the deer should stay away from it. Seawind and ONG-Nandina is a nice shrub too and is also "deer resistant". It's a shame about the callicarpa. It's not "deer resistant" but I have heard that is is not a preference. The thing is if the deer are hungry enough they will try anything...but best to go with the less preferable plants. :)

  4. Hi Lee! I found your blog by following your comment on my last post. Thank you for visiting! Our gardens are on the opposite coasts of the country, but I can use some of your tips! We have most of these berry plants here. Love all of them! Happy gardening and happy blogging to you!

  5. Very Interesting blog. I am now a follower. I thought you might want to check out Paradox Principles
    All the best, Bob West

  6. Oooh, you’re such an inspiration. I love this blog!


Thank you for visiting. I love reading your comments and knowing you have been here, and will try to reciprocate on your blog. If you have any questions I will try my very best to answer them. As always...HAPPY GARDENING!


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