Content Detail

Coralberry is a low-growing, spreading shrub with arching stems that produce clusters of purplish red fruits in the fall. It is a good food source for several species of birds. This shrub is native to the eastern U.S. and a good plant for naturalizing in open woodlands or used to stabilize steep slopes because of its suckering habit.

  • Family (English) Honeysuckle
  • Family (botanic) Caprifoliaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Illinois, North America
  • Size range Small shrub (3-5 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Dry sites
  • Season of interest early winter, early summer, early fall, mid fall, late fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous, Pink
  • Shape or form Arching, Multi-stemmed, Thicket-forming
  • Growth rate Fast

Size and form:

A spreading, arching shrub reaching 3 to 5 feet high and 3 to 6 feet wide.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to the eastern United States. It is commonly found in low areas and along the edges of woodlands from the east coast to Texas and from South Dakota to Colorado.

Attracts birds & butterflies:

Many birds, including chickadees, robins and cardinals eat the fruit.

Bark color and texture:

The bark is gray to brown and peels into flakes or strips.

Leaf description:

The small oval to nearly round simple leaves are opposite, or arranged in pairs on the twigs. They are dull green to blue-green changing to yellow-green in fall.

Flower description:

Small, inconspicuous, bell-shaped flowers in terminal clusters in late June through July.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Small, spongy, purplish-red berry-like fruit from early fall into January.

Plant care:

Coralberry grows in sun or shade and prefers well-drained soil, but is tolerant of temporarily wet sites. This shrub thrives on neglect. Prune to manage suckers to limit the width of the shrub. In spring it can be pruned to initiate more flowers.

List of pests, diseases and tolerances:

Powdery mildew, anthracnose, aphids and scale are possible problems. It has moderate tolerance to aerial salt spray.

Hancock™ Chenault’s Coralberry (Symphoricarpos x chenaultii ‘Hancock’):

A low-growing, spreading shrub maturing at 24 inches high and 8 feet wide. Pink bell-shaped flowers and rose-pink berries.

Amethyst™ Kordes Doorenbos Snowberry (Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii ‘Kordes’):

This cultivar grows 3 to 5 feet high with greenish-white flowers and globe-shaped, deep purplish-pink berries. A hybrid of S. alba var. laevigatus x S. chenaultii.


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