Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Plant of the Week: Snowberry

My dear friend Will came to visit from back East (it snows there!) so I figured I'd show him what November in California looks like.  We headed out to Redwood Regional Park in the Oakland hills the day after a rainstorm and came across a parade of Symphoricarpos albus cheering us along the path.  Hooray!  Each Fall, Snowberry graces the shady hills with bright spots of white berries at the ends of arching branches reminding me of the way Maidenhair Ferns hold themselves.   Quite the ballerina.

I have to admit, these characters looked a tidge scraggly, but I'm thinking they would behave themselves better in garden conditions.

Soil:  Moist and light clay I would think.  This one forms a great root system and would be great on slopes
Sun:  Dappled shade
Plant:  Try it now or perhaps after the berries are done
Buy it:  CNPS's Native Here Nursery seems to have a few and of course, Las Pilitas Nursery
Good for:  a backdrop of grace for a slightly moist shady spot


  1. Love snowberries. We just came back from a hike, and they looked so pretty!

  2. I have never seen Snowberries before. I like the idea of white berries, I didn't know they existed.

    I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  3. Hi TM! I loved the photos from your hike- those manzanitas were amazing!

    Noelle, aren't they cute? You've probably not seen them because they'd be a shrively stick in the AZ climate! But I can't imagine what you have there that I'm missing out on here. I love desert plants!

    Happy Thanksgiving all!

  4. Christine, I have snowberries in my garden, while they are beautiful at this time of year, I find that they are quite invasive. The root runs underground and then shoots up quite a distance from the parent plant. We purchased an old house with a large bank of these, they are trying to take over the whole garden.

  5. Hi Deborah-
    Wow, that's great information. I remember reading that they're great for slope stabilization, but I didn't put two and two together in terms of invasiveness. Thanks so much for adding that!

  6. I like them. We plant them pretty often as one of our plants for difficult areas. They seem to handle heavy clay and they are take extremes of sun or shade pretty well. They haven't been invasive for us, but then we only use them in difficult situations. I could see them maybe becoming a pest many years down the road.

  7. You know ryan, I was thinking that Deborah's Canadian garden gets much more rain than we do here so perhaps that has something to do with its invasiveness. Thanks for your perspective!