In addition to flowers and awesome autumn hues, shrubs and trees can produce showy fruit that magnifies your garden’s charm. Technically, fruiting is the part o fa plant’s reproductive process that occurs after flowering. Fruit comes from the female part of a seed-bearing plant. It holds the fertilized seed or seeds of that plant’s next generation. Some plants have showy fruits to attract wild-life that eat the fruit and disperse its seeds. People, of course, also eat fruit, so shrubs with edible fruit may serve a dual purpose of enjoyment in our gardens. In fact, the word fruit derives from the Latin root, fructus, or enjoyment.
Shrubs that are nondescript for most of the year take on a new look when they fruit. Purple beautyberry’s tight clusters of bright purple fruit appear on a rather plain twiggy shrub in my shrub border. where I don’t pay it much attention until handsome purple berries appear in fall. Wow! The fruit quantity changes from year to year, but the color always delights me.
Likewise, driving a marshy stretch of highway near my home becomes a new experience in fall, when winterberry’s branches, naked of leaves but lush with bright red berries, transform the muck into a cloud of brilliant red. That inspired me to plant “Winter Red” winterberry, the berries of which may last all winter in my backyard. Imagine my surprise one one very cold Thanksgiving Day when I watch a flood of wild turkeys consume them. Besides red, you can also find winterberry in orange and yellow cultivars.
The fruit of some evergreen hollies stands out against the foliage, providing fall to winter interest. Ivory Queen inkberry has white fruit and evergreen leaves on a short plan suitable for a foundation planting.
Blue holly cultivars worth growing for abundant fruit include Blue Princess and Mesog China Girl. These fairly small hollies look great grouped in borders or used as n informal hedge. These fairly small hollies look great grouped in borders or used as an informal hedge.
Nellie Stevens holly is not as hardy as blue holly, but this popular cultivar ha a good fruit set. Although Meserve hybrids and most other hollies require a male plan for lavish fruiting, Nellie can fruit on its own, though it fruits better wth a male, particularly Edward Stevens participating in the process.
Planted alone, holly can make an outstanding garden specimen, particularly in winter, when there’s a little color to hold your attention. James G Eson altaclera holly grows 25 feet or more. From October to January it displays large, clear red berries against its shiny dark green leaves. Miss Helen, Comet Prancer, and fastest growing Carnival with orangey red fruit are showy American hollies that stand on their own. East Palatka and Fosters #2 holly make attractive fruiting screens, hedge, or specimens. Make sure you plan a male for fruiting and find the best for your climate.
*Source for this article was taken from The Homeowner’s Complete Tree and Shrub Handbook. For more information on adding visual interest to your yard, please visit some of these other helpful articles: