November 2017 Plant Profile: Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’

If you’re looking for a plant that will provide you and your neighbors with a “Wow” reaction during several seasons then you should consider beautyberry ‘Profusion’.

Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion' In the autumn it will not only adorn your garden with fall color when the leaves turn a rosy pink or orange, but will also surprise you with small clusters of iridescent violet-purple berries that persist into winter after the leaves have dropped. In the summer, this shrub has graceful, arching branches with small lilac or pink flowers and true to its namesake produces a profusion of brightly colored berries that almost look artificial.

This is a great plant to have for filling in brighter woodland gardens or planted in mass as a hedge.  Bloom and fruit occur on current season’s growth, so prune in late winter by removing a third of oldest stems. Or else lop the whole plant low to ground as needed every few years. Water regularly in the dry months and grow in a sunny or partially sunny location. It’s not particular about the type of soil, but prefers a well-drained location. A small grouping of plants will help ensure better pollination compared to a single plant in the garden. To top it off, this plant is generally pest and disease free. How can you beat that!

Scientific Name: Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’

Common Name: Beautyberry

Location: Joe Witt Winter Garden, Washington Park Arboretum

Origin:  Callicarpa is a species in the Mint Family, LamiaceaeCallicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii is native to southern China. The specific epithet honors Emile Marie Bodinieri (1842-1901), French missionary and botanist who collected plants in China. The variety giraldii lacks the down found on the stems and leaves of species plants. Some taxonomic authorities consider the species to be properly named as C. giraldii var. giraldii, but in the nursery trade it will be labeled as above. This variety has slightly more compact growth and has a superior form than the species.  It is much more commonly sold in commerce than species plants.  ‘Profusion’ is a Dutch selection from seedlings of C. bodinieri var. giraldii and was introduced in 1887. ‘Profusion’ has the same large, upright branching habit of its parent and grows 4 to 6 feet tall. It produces more fruit than the species,  with copious clusters of purple berries from August to November.

Height and spread: 10′ tall by 8′ wide

Bloom/berry time: Autumn and Winter

Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii