Kalanchoe uniflora (Coral Bells)
Kalanchoe uniflora (Coral Bells) is an attractive epiphytic succulent with stems that are prostrate or climbing stems and rooting at the nodes. Leaves…
How to Grow Indian Currants
Growing coralberry plants is attractant to wildlife and a great groundcover which will arrest erosion concerns and is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zone 3. Care of coralberries also advises to plant in partial to full sun and avoid heavy clay or drier, limey soils, which may cause mildew in the plant.
Cutting the coralberry shrub to the ground in winter will encourage thicker, bushier plant growth as well as controlling several types of fungi that may infect the plants. Severe pruning will also help to tame its natural spreading habit, which is accomplished via underground stems.
This 2 to 6 foot (61 cm. to 1 m.) deciduous shrub has been cultivated since 1727 with several cultivars having specific characteristics such as compact growth habits or variegated foliage. Each coralberry shrub will spread at least 2 feet (61 cm.) wide, so account for this when planting.
Other info on how to grow Indian currants advises its tolerance to high heat and medium amounts of irrigation and its preference for a neutral to alkaline soil. Care of coralberries in the proper USDA zone is fairly simple and will provide you with spring color from the greenish white to pink blooms and on into fall with the bb sized berries of fuchsia shades.
The coral berry is a shrub that grows with a single stem or possibly multiple stems - displaying branches of leathery oval shaped leaves, which can be grown outdoors or indoors with the correct conditions.
Note for outdoor growers: Outdoors they are an invasive species (in the US south-east) and a pain for some growers because of how easy seedlings spread, the rate of success they germinate and how they affect the understory of other plant species (more about the invasive side effects of the plant here if your planning to grow outdoors). In Florida it has become a bit of a pest.
Right, back to growing indoors.
Flowering: This plant produces small clusters of white or very pale pink flowers which bloom from late spring to early summer. Once the flowers have bloomed they're followed by clusters of red berries, which last for a fair few months. The flowers and berries appear within the mid section of the tree.
Foliage: As mentioned above the leaves grow on branches form a single stem usually, although multiple stem plants can also grow. The glossy dark green serrated leaves which are oval shaped, grow to approximately 3 - 5 inches long and a couple of inches wide. Overall, the coral berry tree looks attractive with or without flowers and berries, especially if it's pruned well.
Poisonous: I have found no supporting evidence that proves this plant is poisonous. However, its suggested by many that it is toxic to humans, livestock and pets. I'm sure the leaves are to large for cats and dogs to even try consuming.
Displaying: The coral is a fine looking species which looks great in a prominent position that will be noticed by your self and visitors. Obviously, the conditions (light, temperature etc.) need to be right. Also, great looking in a conservatory or hall way and grow well in greenhouses (although not seen much here).
Pruning: I would advise growers to prune the ardisia crenata during spring before the flowers begin budding. This will keep the tree at a reasonable size and allow the foliage to become a nice rounded full shape.
Buckbrush, or coralberry, grows throughout Missouri. This familiar thicket-forming shrub bears dense clusters of pinkish-red berries that persist through most of the winter.
Buckbrush is a slender, erect or ascending, thicket-forming shrub that spreads by roots, usually 2–4 feet tall. Most of the stems are upright to arching, but some creep almost vinelike along the ground, where they send out runners for several feet and root to form new thickets.
Leaves are simple and opposite, the blades 1½–2 inches long, ½–1½ inches wide, egg-shaped to oval, the tip rounded to blunt, the base rounded or wedge-shaped, the margin entire, sometimes with a few large, rounded teeth the upper surface is dull green, smooth or slightly hairy the lower surface is paler, smooth to hairy the leaf stalk is very short, less than ⅛ inch long, hairy.
Bark is brown, peeling into small, short flakes that are easily rubbed off or shredded into long, thin strips the wood is soft, nearly white, with a small pith.
Twigs are flexible, slender, and brown the young twigs have curved white hairs, becoming smooth with age.
Flowers July–August, in clusters of 10–20 flowers at the tip or along the axils of stems flowers are greenish white, sometimes purplish, about ⅛ inch long, bell-shaped, somewhat hairy within petals 5, blunt stamens 5.
Fruits September–October, often prolific, persistent through most of the winter, in dense clusters the berrylike fruits (technically, drupes) are pinkish red to coral red, globe-shaped, about ¼ inch wide seeds 2, hard, egg-shaped, flattened on one side, white, smooth. Rarely, you might fine a plant that bears white fruits.
Similar species: Two other snowberry (Symphoricarpos) species have been recorded in Missouri. Also, some people may confuse beautyberries with the snowberries:
- Wolfberry, or western snowberry (S. occidentalis) is uncommon in far northwestern Missouri and occurs in rich upland forests and margins of loess hill prairies it is also cultivated as an ornamental and border plant. In this species, the fruits are larger, (up to ⅜ inch in diameter) and white or greenish white also, the first leaves produced by elongating twigs each season often are bluntly toothed to lobed, which is usually not the case with the more common buckbrush.
- White coralberry (S. albus) is sometimes grown in Missouri gardens and might occasionally escape from cultivation. It is native to the northern United States and is not native to Missouri. It bears snow white fruits up to about ½ inch wide.
- If you focus on the clusters of berries, a similar-looking shrub is American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), which is unrelated to buckbrush (beautyberries are in the mint family). It is cultivated statewide as a native landscaping ornamental because of its spectacular, dense clusters of bright violet to magenta berrylike fruits. In nature, it is uncommon in the southeastern part of Missouri, where it grows on ledges and blufftops, openings of upland woods, and bottomland forests. It’s a long-lived plant, but it may die back to the ground during especially harsh Missouri winters.
- In garden stores, you may also see purple beautyberry (C. dichotoma), which also bears dense clusters of berrylike lilac or violet fruits. This plant is native to Asia and has been introduced to our continent. There have been some instances of it escaping from cultivation in Missouri.
Make autumn more colorful with plump, pink fruit!
Proud Berry ® coralberry makes it unbelievably easy to fill your landscape with these unique pink berries, guaranteed to turn heads. Cute, rounded, bluish-green leaves look handsome all season, then, in late summer, bell-shaped flowers appear. As the season changes to autumn, the flowers develop into large dark pink berries, the color intensifying with cold weather. As pretty as it is, this North American native is also amazingly tough, effortlessly fending off deer, cold weather, and problem soils. The fruit is not edible, but may be eaten by birds in mid-late winter. This plant makes an excellent cut flower for fall arrangements.
Top reasons to grow Proud Berry ® coral berry:
- Very showy fruit in fall
- Makes an excellent cut flower
- Exceptionally hardy and tough