How about growing this: Coralberry


The purple-pink fruits of coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus) remain vibrant all winter.

I garden for wildlife, so many of my favorite shrubs—serviceberry, elderberry, grey dogwood–are the ones whose berries the birds devour the second they ripen. But there’s something to be said for a shrub that holds on to its abundant and very pretty berries all winter long. And few shrubs can beat coralberry.


Coralberry in winter . . .

Coralberry (also called Indian currant–the Latin name is in the first photo caption above) would be a useful plant even if it didn’t provide so much winter interest. It’s a low-growing shrub (most commonly no more than 3 feet tall, although older plants can be taller) that suckers to form large colonies. It prefers full to partial shade and is not fussy about soil. I use it to fill in shrub islands: I plant it between and in front of taller shrubs and trees to eliminate bare spots. Because it puts up lots of slender stems, it does a good job of holding groundcover or mulch in place, and it would be an excellent plant to use to hold a slope.

Coralberry blooms in late summer with tiny greenish-white flowers that are inconspicuous to humans but highly attractive to pollinators. According to the Xerces Society, it’s a particularly useful plant for attracting native bees. Add to that its usefulness at providing winter cover and winter color. How about adding some coralberry to your garden next spring?


. . . and in late summer, just after setting fruit


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