Pernettya: Decorative Berries In Fall Garden Borders

Pernettya: Decorative Berries In Fall Garden Borders – Pernettya is a beautiful evergreen shrub that is remarkable in fall with its colorful and elegant berries. Few plants produce such a dramatic range of colored berries as pernettya and its hybrids. Set off by the small, glossy, evergreen leaves, the fruits vary from dark plum-red, through bright red, to pink, and finally white. Only the female plants carry berries, although it is necessary to have a male plant nearby for pollination.

Pernettya plants

To create a bed of pernettya, place each plant about 40 inches (1 m) apart. Fruit-bearing is increased if you alternate male and female plants. A male shrub has been introduced among the more decorative females, but you could grow one in a nerby border. As pernettya is evergreen and hardy, you could keep it in this glazed, ceramic pot permanently to enjoy its glossy foliage in winter, and then its tiny white flowers in the spring and early summer.

To grow pernettya in pots, mix ⅓ soil mix with ⅔ heath soil, and check that the pot is well-drained with a hole at the bottom. For example, use large, glazed and frost-proofed pot which has a strong affinity with the color of the pernettyas’ small, spiky leaves, yet at the same time it provides a perfect foil for the shining, red, white, and pink berries that appear in the fall.

Plant in a slightly acid potting mixture. Place in a sunny site. Keep the soil moist through the growing season. Feed once a fortnight.

How to combine a male and female plants in one pot? Grow four pernettyas in a 40cm (16in) diameter, glazed, ceramic pot using the next scheme:

  • Pernettya mucronata ‘Bell’s Seedling’ – a female plant bearing bright red fruits;
  • Pernettya mucronata ‘Edward Ball’ – a male plant;
  • Pernettya mucronata ‘Mulberry Wine’ – a female plant that bears dusky pink fruits;
  • Pernettya mucronata alba – a female variety grown for its white fruits.