Snowberry is great for landscaping a garden

Snowberry

The arching stems of snowberries bear abundant fruit clusters for birds to feast on each fall.

Berries form on the tips of dense branches of blue-green foliage. Recently introduced cultivars like ‘Scarlet Pearl’ (pictured) are especially noteworthy because of their larger, more colourful berries. With dense branching and a root system that spreads through underground runners, snowberries are vigorous enough to hold soil on slopes and banks of streams or serve as a tall ground cover and good for landscaping a garden

It also works well as hedging or a specimen in the landscape, particularly in shady spots where other shrubs have trouble growing. A North American native, it’s found in woodlands and prairies and tolerates poor soil, pollution, and windy sites.

Common name: Snowberry

Botanical name: Symphoricarpos spp.

Plant type: Deciduous shrub

Height: 6 feet

Zones: 3 to 7 and Coastal Zone 10

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Growing conditions

Sun: Sun to part shade

Soil: Does best in well-drained soil, but tolerates poor soil.

Moisture: Moderate

Care – landscape

Mulch: None or a thin layer (1 inch) of organic mulch such as wood chips, bark chips, or shredded leaves.

Pruning: Flowers on new wood, so prune lightly in early spring.

Fertiliser: None required

Cultivars

‘Scarlet Pearl’ has dark pink fruit and grows 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. Zones 3 to 7.

Charming Fantasy is a new cultivar with light pink fruit in the fall. Grows 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. Zones 3 to 7.

Garden notes

Perfect for a naturalised landscape designed to attract wildlife. Birds will eat the berries and find shelter in the dense branching.

Plant in shady spots or poor soils where other shrubs don’t thrive.

Because snowberry suckers, you need to thin it occasionally. Divide and transplant in the fall.

Pests and diseases

Anthracnose, powdery mildew, and leaf spots may occur.

Propagation

Take greenwood cuttings in the summer.

Take hardwood cuttings in late fall.

All in the family

The common coralberry (Symphoricarpos albus) has ½-inch, white fruit from September through November. Tolerant of drought and shade. Cultivars such as ‘Constance Spry’ have attractive fruit. Grows 3 to 6 feet tall. Zones 3 to 7.

Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii ‘Mother of Pearl’ has arching branches with prolific, white fruit. Grows 5 feet tall. Zones 4 to 7.

The coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus) is a dense bushy shrub with bell-shaped flowers and purple-red fruit. Grows 6 feet tall. Zones 2 to 7.

Weigela, Viburnum, Sambucus (Elder), and Lonicera (honeysuckle) are all landscape shrubs related to the snowberry.

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