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Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion'

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Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’

Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’

Startlingly colouful violet-purple berries make Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’ a real treat in October. You can find this shrub on Seven Acres, between the two lakes, and in the corner of the Rock Garden overlooking the new Glasshouse. It also grows on Battleston Hill, where the dappled shade suits it well.

Vital statistics

Common name
Beauty berry
Family
Verbenaceae
Height & spread
3m x 2.5m (10ft x 8ft)
Form
Deciduous shrub
Soil
Fertile and well drained soil
Aspect
Full sun or dappled shade
Hardiness
Fully hardy

Callicarpa

This is a genus of about 140 species of evergreen and deciduous shrubs and trees from woodland in mainly tropical and subtropical regions of North and Central America, East Asia, Australia and Malaya. The name comes from the Greek word callicarpus meaning “with beautiful fruits”.

The leaves are opposite and simple and the branches bear dense, axillary panicles of numerous tiny, white, pink, red or purple flowers. They are grown mainly for their clusters of small but highly coloured fruits which are small, spherical and 2-4mm (1/16-1/8in) in diameter.

Callicarpa is ideal for a shrub border and fruits most prolifically in long, hot summers when planted in groups.

Tender and half-hardy species should be given protection in a cool greenhouse in winter.

Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’

A bushy, upright, deciduous shrub with elliptic to obovate, tapered, dark green leaves, which are bronze when young, and grow up to 18cm (7in) long.

Small pale pink flowers are produced in panicles, up to 3.5 cm (1 1/4in) across, from the leaf axils, in midsummer. These are followed, in autumn, by attractive and abundant dark violet fruit.

Cultivation

  • Grow under glass in loam-based potting compost (John Innes No. 2) in full or bright filtered light. 
  • In the growing season, water freely and apply a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly. Water sparingly in winter. 
  • Outdoors, grow in fertile well-drained soil in sun or dappled shade.
  • Prune annually in early spring, when buds begin to swell, by cutting back to a low permanent framework.
  • Generally free from pests and diseases.

Propagation

  • Sow seed of species in containers in a cold frame in autumn or spring. 
  • Root softwood cuttings in spring, or semi-ripe cuttings with bottom heat in summer.

AGM

The RHS Woody Plant Committee awarded Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’ an Award of Garden Merit and described it as:

"Medium-sized deciduous shrub of upright habit. Leaves 5-12cm (2-5in) long, lanceolate, purplish when young, turning rosy-pink in autumn. Flowers small, lilac; berries 4mm (1/8in), violet-purple, in compact clusters."

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