The Magic Berry Coralberry
Symphoricarpos x chenaultii ‘Magic Berry’
The Magic Berry Coralberry
Symphoricarpos x chenaultii ‘Magic Berry’
How are the heights measured?
All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.
What is a gallon container?
Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.
How does the delivery process work?
All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!
Why are some states excluded from shipping?
The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.
The Magic Berry Coralberry is the very best of all the coralberries when it comes to berries. They are larger than in other types, produced in profusion even on a single bush, and they are an incredibly bright violet-red, really standing out all through fall and early winter. This deciduous bush is up to 6 feet tall and wide, ideal for the back of smaller beds, or the middle area of larger ones, or for filling slopes and rough ground. It fits well into natural areas or in more structured gardens. The berry-laden branches last weeks when cut and placed in vases.
- Knockout display of large violet-red berries
- Purple-red fall leaves
- Small pink flowers along the stems in early summer
- Tough and reliable in difficult areas, both dry and wet
- Excellent for wild planting and as a garden shrub
The Magic Berry Coralberry is able to grow in all light levels, from full sun to full shade, although berry crops will be reduced in heavy shade. It grows in all kinds of soils too, from acid to alkaline and from poor, dry and rocky soil into wet and poorly-drained soils. It is generally free of pest or disease problems and can be trimmed or not, as you need.
- Plant Hardiness Zones 3-8
- Mature Width 4-6
- Mature Height 4-6
Nothing livens up our gardens in fall as well as berries do. Their bright colors make up for the flowers that are now gone, and add another layer of brightness to fall leaves, often persisting long after those leaves are gone. Many berry shrubs look their best and brightest after the leaves are gone, and for long-lasting brightness and profusion there is nothing that matches the Magic Berry Coralberry. Words like ‘magical’ and ‘amazing’ get thrown around a lot in plant descriptions, but this is one case when magical really fits for the abundance and bright coloring of the berries on this shrub. They are so bright and abundant that they are grown and used by florists in arrangements, and that’s something you can do too. It forms a broad rounded shrub, with branches that are often pendulous from the weight of the berries – and what berries they are! A full ½-inch across – much larger than other coralberries – and in large clusters of up to 8 berries, they are a remarkable shade of violet-red, glowing in the garden and brightening the cold days of early winter. This tough shrub will grow in difficult locations and poor soil, in light levels from sun to shade, and it’s pest-free and drought resistant too. Bring some real magic to your garden with this great shrub – you’ll be amazed.
Growing The Magic Berry Coralberry
Size and Appearance
The Magic Berry Coralberry is a broad, mounding deciduous shrub growing between 4 and 6 feet tall and wide. It has many slender stems, with hairy reddish bark on new ones and rougher, shredding bark on older ones. The small leaves are no more than an inch long, and carried in a double row along the shoots. They are a rich dark green, and often turn purple-red in fall, an unusual thing among coralberries, which usually don’t show any fall color.
Flowers are formed in July, but these are relatively inconspicuous, hanging in clusters where the leaves meet the stems. They are small pink tubes with a flaring mouth, and perhaps ½ and inch long. They are easily found by bees and pollinators, which they attract, and a single bush produces a heavy crop of berries without any need for a second pollinator. By early fall the large berries are beginning to show color, while the leaves are still green, and they become especially showy after the leaves fall. The berries are a uniform dark pinkish-purple to violet-red – striking and very ornamental. They last for weeks into the winter, before eventually being taken by birds. They are not edible, and may be mildly toxic in large quantities if eaten by humans.
Using The Magic Berry Coralberry in Your Garden
This is a great shrub for filling the middle and back of your shrub beds, adding color when most other plants have become dormant. Because it is so tough and reliable on poor soil, it’s especially good for covering slopes and rocky areas, making boring places green in summer and fascinating in fall. It grows in both dry and wet areas, and it’s good for planting along streams and banks. Plant it singly in smaller spaces, or for larger areas and slopes, space plants 3 to 4 feet apart.
The Magic Berry Coralberry is hardy as well as beautiful. It will grow in zone 3, and all through the country into zone 8. It doesn’t grow so well in areas that have very hot, dry and humid summers.
Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions
Few shrubs are as undemanding as the Magic Berry Coralberry, which grows everywhere from full sun to full shade. Berry crops may be reduced in very shady spots, but it is remarkably good at surviving in dark places. It will grow in all kinds of soil too, from dry, rocky and poor soils into soils that are often wet, with poor drainage. It grows in both acid and alkaline soils too.
Maintenance and Pruning
This bush always looks healthy and green, except in very hot, humid areas where it may suffer from mildew or leaf-spots. It isn’t eaten by deer, and you can basically plant it and forget it, after some extra watering while it becomes established. It can be trimmed into a hedge – a hard trim in early spring will mean you still get berries, but trimming in summer will reduce them. Otherwise, removing a few older branches on mature, well-established plants is all the care it might need.
History and Origin of The Magic Berry Coralberry
The original garden coralberry was the one we know today as Chenault’s coralberry, Symphoricarpos x chenaultii. It was created at the Chenault nursery in Orléans, France, around 1910. It is a hybrid plant, a cross between Symphoricarpos microphyllus from Mexico and Symphoricarpos orbiculatus, the wild coralberry, which grows across much of North America. The result was a vigorous shrub that can grow to 6 feet tall, with pink or white berries. It produces seeds that will sprout and grow, so further varieties have been created from that original. In 1948 Simeon Doorenbos, Director of The Hague Parks Department in the Netherlands, crossed Chenault’s coralberry back to one of its parents, S. orbiculatus. Among the seedlings was one he selected and named ‘Magic Berry’. This tree is often placed in a group of other hybrid snowberries that Doorenbos created, called Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii. We are following other authorities, who treat it as a Chenault’s coralberry, because Doorenbos’ other hybrids all involved a third species, S. albus var. laevigatus as well, and this one doesn’t.
Buying The Magic Berry Coralberry at the Tree Center
Every garden has problem areas where it can be hard to find suitable plants. That’s where the Magic Berry coralberry steps in, growing in dry or wet soil, and in shade or sun. As well, this beautiful shrub is worthy of a more high-profile place in your garden, so add it to your shrub beds for late color through fall and winter – it will really work some easy magic for you.