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Foliage Berries White

Foliage Berries White (Development)

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The shades of beautiful berries providing winter interest in the garden are many. This article will examine some of the few plants that carry white berries through the winter months to make a snow-like statement in the garden.

Skimmia japonica is a white or red berried shrub that is slow growing and evergreen. Skimmia japonica alba is the white berried variety and is very useful in acidic soil, or in a shady border as it will tolerate shade well. Small white flowers appear in late spring through early-summer and the foliage is a beautiful dark green. A fantastic foundation shrub or plant for the back of the border it provides not only a backdrop for blooming plants in front of it, but also contributes interest all year long. A male plant is needed for females to produce berries. The skimmia japonica is a low growing, broadleaved shrub that is 3-4’ tall and 6’ wide; hardy in zones 7 and 8.

Pernettya (Gaultheria spp.) is another plant 2-3' tall that produces white berries showy all winter. Related to heaths and heathers this shrubby perennial can tend towards a loose sprawling growth habit and have suckers that need to be trimmed out each year. The large, white berries that last all winter however, make the maintenance worthwhile for many gardeners. It is poisonous so be aware if you have small children. The fine textured, evergreen leaves make a beautiful foreground in many planter boxes, containers or walkway borders. A native plant of Chile, the Pernettya is hardy to Zone 7.

One of the most well-known berry producing plants gets its common name from the stunning white berries that adorn it fall and winter each year; the Snowberry(Symphoricarpos albus). It grows 3 to 5 ft. tall and is hardy to Zone 3. The Common Snowberry tolerates shade or sun equally well and is tough enough to handle most soil conditions as well. Newer cultivars show a nice range of berries like the blush pink hues in the 'Charming Fantasy Snowberry' (Symphoricarpos albus 'Kolcharm') and the green "nipples" (the small tag left on the berry from where the flower was) on the berries of 'Bright Fantasty Snowberry' (Symphoricarpos albus 'Bokrabright') making for nice specimens in any planting. Very hardy, this is one of the best white-berried shrubs for the cold winters of northern gardens.

Some hollies (Ilex spp) can be found with white berried cultivars as well such as white winterberry (Ilex serrata leucocarpa). This holly is a deciduous shrub growing from 5-10’ with green summer foliage that turns yellow-maroon in the fall. Clusters of white berries follow and last all winter. Hardy in zones 5-8.


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