If you're looking for a dazzling plant to attract birds to your yard, look no further than beautyberry. This Florida native is scientifically known as Callicarpa americana, and its bright purple berries are some of the most striking around.
Beautyberry grows as a slightly sprawling, small shrub (3 to 8 feet tall; 4 to 8 feet wide) and can work well in borders or as a specimen plant. The branches form long arches that bend toward the ground. You can prune the branches to give the plant a more compact habit.
Flowers appear along the branches from June through August and then mature into jewel-like berries by September. If not devoured first by birds, the berries will persist for several weeks after the plant drops its leaves.
You can plant beautyberry at any time during the year, and it will be drought-tolerant once established. Beautyberry prefers rich soils, but will also grow in a poor and sandy soils.
Several other species of beautyberry will grow well in Florida, including the native C. dichotoma, which is more compact than C. americana, and the non-native C. japonica. There are even varieties that have been bred for white, pearlescent berries (C. americana forma lactea).