ShadyGardens Blog

September 26, 2008

American Euonymus – Strawberry Bush – Hearts A Bustin

Another very unusual native plant is the American Eunymus. Most commonly referred to as Strawberry Bush or Hearts-A-Bustin, Euonymus Americanus goes unnoticed most of the year. Green stems are attractive in winter, especially to deer. Small greenish yellow flowers in spring are lovely, although inconspicuous, but in late summer the American Strawberry Bush begins to show off.


The common name ‘Strawberry Bush’ comes from the dark red seed capsules that look much like strawberries. The seed pods are showy, especially once the plant is large enough to display a large number of the pods. But when the seed capsules burst open, that’s when they really capture some attention. The pods open to reveal bright orange fruits that are a sharp contrast to the dark red outer shell. Breathtaking, really. That’s where the plant gets its other common name, Hearts-A-Bustin.

And, like many of our native plants, Euonymus Americanus is very easy to grow. Requiring only a little shade and regular water to get established, the American Euonymus is drought tolerant. Unlike other forms of Euonymus, American Euonymus is not invasive.

Found in the woods in the Southeast, the American Strawberry Bush is hardy in USDA Zones 5-9.

If you like unusual plants, try American Euonymus, or Strawberry Bush. Not usually found in nurseries, but available by mailorder or online at specialty native plant nurseries such as Shady Gardens Nursery.

September 23, 2008

Fall Planting is Best for Azaleas, Hydrangeas, and Most Other Shrubs

Filed under: azalea, Blueberries, drought tolerant, fall, garden, gardening, Georgia, Hydrangea, planting, shrub, shrubs — shadygardens @ 8:13 pm

Fall is the best time to plant shrubs and trees. Our weather usually begins cooling off in September, making gardening easier on both the plant and the gardener! Although daytime temperatures are still hot, our nights are cooler. October is a great time to plant Azaleas, Blueberries, and Hydrangeas. This time of year just brings better weather for shrubs to establish themselves without having to fight for their lives! So if you dream of beautiful blooms covering your yard on shrubs like azaleas, hydrangeas, snowball bushes, etc, do yourself and your plants a favor and plant them now, instead of waiting until spring. If your dream includes eating tasty blueberries from your own garden, plant those now too! Since we still are not receiving regular rainfall, you’ll need to water newly planted trees and shrubs once or twice weekly, especially while these hot days continue. Shrubs planted in fall will have a head start over spring planted ones, and will have a greater chance of survival during our heat wave next summer. Even though the top growth of the plant will be dormant and might not even have any leaves, the roots will continue to grow through the winter. So get out there and enjoy the beautiful weather we’re having, and remember to pray for rain!

September 12, 2008

American Beautyberry: Callicarpa Americana

Filed under: Beauty Berry, Beautyberry, Callicarpa, dought tolerant, native plant, native shrub. — shadygardens @ 5:12 pm

One of my very favorite plants of all is the American Beautyberry. One of the showiest of all native plants, Callicarpa americana, displays vibrant purple berry clusters all along the stems at a time when few plants are blooming in the garden.

Insignificant tiny blossoms appear in early summer, berries develop later in summer, beginning to change from green to purple in late August.

The bright purple berries are held tightly in clusters along the stems and between the leaves. The berries really begin to show off as they remain on the stems long after all leaves have fallen from the plant. Although we don’t get snow here, I’ve seen breathtakingly beautiful photos of American Beautyberry with snow and icycles. Wow!

Easy to grow and very drought-tolerant, Callicarpa Americana will grow quite large–up to 10 feet tall and wide, but it is easy to contain as a smaller specimen with just one pruning per year at the end of winter or early spring. Since the plant blooms and forms berries on new growth, you can conveniently prune when your climate begins warming up without sacrificing your berry production in fall.

American Beautyberry makes a lovely specimen shrub but is even more spectacular when massed in groups of 3 or more.

An added bonus is that songbirds like the berries, once they begin to shrivel. I suppose they sweeten a bit as they age.

Foliage is large, bright green leaves that are attractive even without blooms or berries. Deciduous leaves fall at onset of cold weather, leaving the bright purple very showy berries to remain well into winter, often as late as January, depending on climate.

One of the most showy American native plants that I know of, the American Beautyberry is worthy to be planted in every garden. Find one for your garden at http://www.shadygardensnursery.com/.

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