Grow Beautyberry – The Edible Shrub That Also Repels Mosquitoes

Beautyberry shrubs are great for topical and oral use, and also make gardens pretty

Gardeners adore the beautyberry shrub. It thrives west in the southeast of North America. You sure love the light purple berries. Beautyberries aren’t well known outside the US. They are hardy down to zone 7 and sometimes even zone 6.

Beautyberries are amazing

Callicarpa americana is delicious and grows up to 1.8 m. The shrub is a hermaphrodite and needs cross-pollination for good high fruit production. Do not grow it in isolation!

The shrubs bloom between June and July.  Their lavender color is amazing.

Grow beautyberries in your garden

You can grow them for the berries or the blooms. Here are some cool reasons:

  • Beautyberries add structure to garden borders
  • Their roots can fix friable soil and also prevent erosion
  • Beautyberries are pest tolerant and resistant to honey fungus
  • The shrub attracts birds and butterflies
  • Backyard chickens like them
  • Beautyberry leaves repel mosquitoes
  • You can read the juicy berries raw or turn them into jelly

The perfect location

Beautyberries grow well in partial shade, close to a forest, or woodland garden. They thrive well under a dappled shade of a tree. The shrub likes drained but moist soil.

Grow your beautyberries

  • From seed

Sew your beautyberries in early summer and transplant them outside in fall. Sow them late in fall and transplant them in spring. Cover the seeds with your growing medium. They take 1-3 months and 65F to germinate.

  • From cuttings

Take cuttings in early spring. Take semi-ripe 10 cm cuttings in July or August.

  • Established plant

You can find mature shrubs at any time.

Take care of your beautyberries

Plants need enough water in sunny spots. When planted in the shade of other plants, they need little watering. Provide deep watering during dry spells. An inch of water per week is enough.

Beautyberries are a low-maintenance plant and don’t require fertilization. Prune in late winter.

Use

Here are some nice recipes to try:

  • Beautyberry jelly

Wash your berries and add about 6 cups to a pot. Add eight cups of water and bring to a boil. Cook your juicy berries for 20 minutes. Strain and keep the liquid. Add the pulp to your compost or your chicken feed.

Add 6 cups of sugar to the liquid. Add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and pectin. Bring the liquid to a boil and let it boil. Test it on a cool spoon to do the “wrinkle test.” Transfer the liquid into sterilized jars and seal the lid. Keep your jelly in cool areas.

  • Mosquito repellent

Mash beautyberry leaves and berries and rub them onto your skin. Even the USDA supports the use.

You can also make a homemade salve.

Always leave some of the berries for the birds. These shrubs are great for your garden and for the wildlife, too.

Source: www.wildflower.org

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