A stroll through my family’s Central Pennsylvania garden reminded me of what a sight Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Issai’ is in the fall. Known as Purple Beautyberry around the garden world, this shrub provides a stunning berry show starting September and through November. Nestled into a mixed garden as a specimen or en masse for maximum effect, it is worth incorporating into your garden. The deep purple tones of the ripe berries lying along the stem are such an eye catcher. Not often do you find a purple tone in the fall garden aside from the ever popular asters
This cultivar ‘Issai’ has the most prolific berrying of most other cultivars and is tried and true in my experience. It has a beautiful, arching habit, exaggerated when in fruit with the weight of the berries. Its flowers are pink-lavender blooming in late June into early August and are rather inconspicuous, but pretty upon close encounter.
Try planting in a large group above a wall or with ornamental grasses such as Black Flowering Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’). Bring cut stems indoors for a beautiful addition to a flower arrangement or an added twist to a homemade wreath.