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Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Limonium, Helichrysum, Skimmia, Elaeagnus, Echinops, Alstroemeria, Callicarpa, Calluna, Aster, Lavandula, Achillea, Quercus, Viburnum, Dahlia, Cotoneaster, Acer

My son and his sweetheart are planning a wedding in Seattle (my hometown) this coming September and would love to use seasonal flowers and greenery. I have not lived in the area for many years and am at a loss. Can you give us some suggestions please?


Here are some of the plants which are available in September: Achillea (Yarrow)
Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily)
Callicarpa bodinieri (beautyberry)
Cotoneaster (for foliage)
Elaeagnus (foliage)
Hebe (flowers and foliage)
Helichrysum (straw flower)
Acer (Maple: foliage)
Quercus (Oak: foliage)
Limonium (Statice)
Viburnum tinus

Here is a link to the Washington Park Arboretum web page of seasonal highlights.

A great book on flowers by season is A Year Full of Flowers: Fresh Ideas to Bring Flowers into Your Life Every Day by Jim McCann and Julie McCann Mulligan.

Date 2017-12-08
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Callicarpa

I have a Callicarpa with light green leaves and very small purple berries in the winter. I don't know what the one I have is called, but I would like to find one with dark green leaves and dark purple berries. How late in the season could I put a shrub like this in my yard in South Seattle?


Sometimes having two Callicarpa plants in one garden will enhance berry production. The variety that reportedly does best in the Pacific Northwest is Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion.'

I wonder if the variety you currently have might be this one, Callicarpa dichotoma 'Early Amethyst,' which has paler purple berries that are fairly small.

I'd never heard of the cultivar 'Purple Pearls' before, but it appears to have darker (purple-tinged!) leaves and richly purple-colored fruit.

Portland-area gardener and author Ketzel Levine writes about several types of Callicarpa in Plant This! (Sasquatch Books, 2000). She says that Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion' is the only type of Callicarpa "that truly thrives in temperate climates" (such as ours). "For reasons [...] no doubt related to the weather, and the absence of a long season of heat---none of the other species berry up quite as reliably." She does say that Callicarpa americana's berries are three times larger than 'Profusion' and that Callicarpa dichotoma is a more graceful plant ("the most refined and shapeliest species in the genus. It has a horizontal, tiered habit," but its berries are smaller. Callicarpa japonica has "metallic purple fruits, a color just a tad weirder than most, set off dramatically by autumn leaves often touched with pink." There is a white-berried form of Callicarpa japonica--'Leucocarpa.'

However, all of the other varieties (aside from 'Profusion') may not perform well in the Pacific Northwest.

You can plant more Callicarpa plants as you find them in nurseries or at plant sales. To be on the safe side, don't plant in summer heat or you will have to pay very close attention to watering, and don't plant when the ground is frozen or saturated. Spring or fall planting will work just fine.

Date 2018-03-15
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Garden Tip

Keywords: Callicarpa, Berries

In autumn, when deciduous shrubs lose their leaves, luscious berries extend the season of color into winter. One of the most unassuming shrubs, Callicarpa, is ignored most of the year, but in the fall most everyone who comes upon the berries of this shrub takes notice. Little shining lavender balls adorn the branches of this plant, and most who see it agree the common name of Beautyberry is appropriately applied. Read more about it in the November/December 2002 issue of Garden Design Magazine.

Date: 2008-02-06
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May 31 2018 13:14:08