Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Shrubs, Deciduous
Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade
Water Use: medium
Soil Moisture: dry, moist
Soil Description: neutral, rich, average, loam, clay, sand, gravel/rock
Bloom Time: April, May, June, July
Bloom Color: white, pink, green
Leaf Color: green
Hardiness Zone: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Additional Tags: attracts bees, attracts birds, berries, colonizing, fall interest, hedging plant, naturalizing, shade garden plant, showy fruit
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Symphoricarpos orbiculatusAlso known as:
Symphoricarpos orbiculatusis a low growing spreading deciduous shrub, member of the Honeysuckle family. It has arching stems and forms dense thickets that are rarely taller than 4". The softwood and semi-hardwood stems are covered with thin hair, and so are the undersides of the leaves. The bell-shaped flowers appear along the upper leaves' axils, are greenish shades of pink or white, somewhat inconspicuous and hidden by the foliage. Its most remarkable asset is the showy red to purple fruit for which it owes the common name "coralberry". These berry-like drupes are tightly borne along the upper parts of the stems, forming dense showy clusters that ripen in fall and persist on the shrub well into winter.
Coralberry is very easy to grow in average, moist to dry, well-drained or even rocky soil. It is fairly shade tolerant, particularly in the south where this will offer protection against leaf burn and early deterioration. In colder climates it will do well in open areas in full sun. It spreads rapidly by suckering underground runners and can be used effectively to control erosion. It should be given room to grow and is a good choice for naturalized areas and woodland margins. It can also be used to create low-growing informal hedges. Plants can be rejuvenated by cutting them back hard in early spring. This will also ensure an abundant production of fruit. Blooms in late spring in the south, to mid-summer in the north: April to July. Zones 4-8
Propagate by root cuttings, semi-hardwood cuttings, or by division. Can be propagated from seed, but this will require maceration to remove the flesh of the fruit. Stored seeds are difficult to germinate and will require several months of warm stratification, followed by several months of cold stratification.
The fruit are attractive to several bird and animal species. The shrubs provide cover for wildlife. Deer will often graze on the leaves, giving rise to the common name "buckbrush".
Native Range & Classification
Recorded County Distribution: USDA data
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV