Posted by Jessie Jacobson on Jan 1st 2024

Symphoricarpos (Coralberry) 

Captivating bell-shaped flowers in summer that change over to playful candy-colored berries in fall, Symphoricarpos, commonly referred to as Coralberry or Snowberry, adds unique whimsical interest to outdoor spaces. Coralberry is a member of the Honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae. These smaller compact shrubs create yearlong interest as an informal hedge, accent plant, or addition to a cutting garden.

Native to the eastern two-thirds of the United States, Coralberry grows well in a wide range of soils and once established is adaptable to both moist and dry conditions. Coralberry prefers full sun for optimal flowering, but it can handle part-shade as well. This plant appreciates a nice thick layer of mulch around it to help hold in moisture and keep the roots cool. As always, keep the mulch a couple of inches away from the bottom stems. To keep Coralberry looking its best and increase flowering, it is best to prune the plant in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. It also benefits from an application of slow-release organic fertilizer such as Espoma’s Organic Plant Tone applied in the spring. Symphoricarpos matures to 3 to 4 ft high and wide. While Coralberry has no serious disease or insect issues, during periods of high humidity it should be watched for powdery mildew and treated with fungicide if it is detected. It’s prized by pollinators who enjoy its nectar in the summer and birds who dine on its tasty colored berries in the fall and winter. The berries are inedible and have a bitter taste, so deer usually leave this plant alone in favor of other tastier treats.

In late summer, pink or white bell-shaped flowers appear creating a striking display against the dark blue-green leaves of the Symphoricarpos. In autumn, the flowers become clusters of pearl-like berries in shades of pink, purple, or white depending on variety. The color intensifies on the branches as the temperatures get colder. These colorful branches can be cut and used in floral arrangements or added to holiday containers adding dramatic interest. A few of Tonkadale’s favorite varieties include ‘Candy’, ‘Galaxy’, and ‘Symphony Pink’.

Happy planting! See you at Tonkadale.