Snowberry – Symphoricarpos albus

Symphoricarpos albus_Snowberry_XG-CO_LAH_3119While most fall and winter berries are red, or perhaps dark blue, snowberries sport showy clusters of pristine white, berry-like fruit. If not eaten by the birds, the fruit will adorn the bare branches in winter. The upright, finely-branched shrubs are about three feet tall. Moderate growers, they are long-lived, with tiny pink, bell-shaped flowers that appear in early summer.

A Colorado native, snowberry is well adapted to our growing conditions, and is hardy to zone 3. Soil type doesn’t matter, so long as it’s moderately fertile and reasonably well-drained. Plant in full sun, and water until established. While mature plants are highly drought tolerant, they also survive once-a-week watering, which also results in heavier fruit crops. Prune only to remove old, dead wood.

symphoricarpos-albus-snowberry-dbg-lah-263While the slightly toxic berries are considered inedible by people, deer will browse on the plants. With its dense foliage, snowberry makes a good foundation shrub. For a woodland feel, plant with other natives such as Oregon grape and ponderosa pines.

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