Symphoricarpos or Pearl snowberry – A rounded and bushy shrub with attractive snow-white berries in your garden
The Snowberry is a very hardy fast-growing suckering shrub with attractive snow-white berries, originating in North America. Although not a British native, it has good wildlife value, and is a good plant for poor soils and dense shade. Its suckering habit means that it quickly makes a dense thicket, so it is good for screening and can be trimmed as a low hedge.
A small group of twiggy, deciduous shrubs, mainly grown for their attractive winter berries. Often used as an informal hedge. Although not well behaved or top-rated, is very useful for its tolerance of shade, pollution and poor soils.
Botanical Name: Symphoricarpos
Common Names: Snowberry, Coral berry, Indian currant
Foliage: Deciduous, simple ovate, green leaves.
Flowers: Small bell-shaped, pink or white flowers, followed by medium-sized white, pink or purple berries.
Flowering Period: Summer.
Soil: Well-drained to poorly drained soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Any pH.
Conditions: Full sun, shade or partial shade. Can be grown in a north, south, east or west-facing aspect, in a sheltered or exposed location.Habit: Bushy, sometimes suckering.
Type: Shrub or small tree.
Origin: North America and China.
Toxicity: The berries are toxic if eaten.
Hardiness: Hardy in most regions of the UK.
Planting and Growing Symphoricarpos
Very easy to grow and generally unfussy and trouble free. They can look a little unkempt on their own, so they are best grown as a hedge or as part of a shrubbery.
Plant outside in early autumn or spring. Container grown plants can be planted out at any reasonable time of year.
Snowberries will grow almost anywhere in sun or shade and in almost any type of well-drained soil, even poor soils. The best berries are produced when grow in an open sunny position. Pollution and drought tolerant once established.
Useful for informal hedging. The autumn branches of S. albus laevigatus, with lush white fruits are ideal for flower arranging.
Snowberry easily self-seeds and spreads by suckers, so it can become invasive if not kept in check.
Taking Care of Symphoricarpos
Water thoroughly during dry weather until well established.
Pruning is not normally necessary except to shape or restrict growth. Regularly trim Hedges and thin out overgrown plants in the autumn.
Remove suckers to prevent spread.
Pests and Diseases
Generally pest and disease free. May suffer from leaf spot.
Can be easily increased from softwood cuttings taken in early summer or hardwood cuttings taken in autumn. Alternatively, layer or transplant rooted suckers in the autumn.