Callicarpa, the candy tree

Callicarpa or candy tree is a beautiful shrub that grows fine in the ground and in a pot.

Callicarpa, Candy tree facts

Name – Callicarpa bodinieri
Family – Lamiaceae (formerly Verbenaceae)
Type – shrub

Height – 6 ½ feet (2 meters)
Exposure – full sun, light shade
Soil – ordinary

Foliage – deciduous
Flowering – June to July

Easy to care for, it will fill you with childish glee thanks to its cute berries that appear in the middle of summer and last until the end of winter.

Planting Callicarpa, the candy tree

Indifferently either in spring or fall.

Take note, however, that planting in fall will increase chance of regrowth, and that planting in spring involves extra watering at the beginning.

Pruning Callicarpa, the candy tree

It isn’t really a requirement to prune, but maintenance pruning helps keep a compact bearing.

  • Wait for the end of winter to reduce or balance out the branches.
  • Prune the sprigs grown during the previous year back to about 4 inches (10 cm) from where they split from their structural branch.
  • Eliminate weakened or dead branches.
  • Give your callicarpa a nice shape and a dense bearing.

All there is to know about Callicarpa, the candy tree

Although the summer blooming can literally be disregarded, this shrub is much more famous for its fruits that appear in fall and hang to the tree for the most part of winter.

Even if the leaves fall off come autumn, the berries remain and thus decorate the garden or terrace over the coldest months of the year. Callicarpa berries are edible, even though they don’t taste very good.

Very much suited to growing in pots, it also can stand alone in a yard, or be part of a shrub bed.

Fruits of the Callicarpa shrub on two leafless branches.

Smart tip about Callicarpa, the candy tree

If your area hosts particularly strong freezing in winter, grow it potted and bring it indoors to shelter it from freezing in a cool spot.


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Callicarpa with berries by Katja Schulz ★ under © CC BY 2.0
Callicarpa by Hans Braxmeier under Pixabay license