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What's Blooming in Paradise: Snownberry

September 1, 2011
Anita Force Marshall , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

First impression: Delicate creamy white to pastel yellow draping bell shaped flowers. They are breathtaking, being grouped in cascading clusters that are too numerous to count. Older petals have a darker yellow look, as they do later turn a brown paper bag color. Shiny, slender green oval leaves emerge everywhere ending as a tendril adornment to the gorgeous blossoms. I notice the oodles of branches and the appearance of multi stemmed gray trunks. My nose detects a magnificent sweet lingering fragrance, and pollinators are everywhere. Brrr - Non melting, icy white flowers that any glacier lover would cheer about, blooming now at the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.

Upon further investigation: Snowberry is one of my garden must haves. We gardeners in paradise are always looking for unusual colors in berries. Fortunately, we have this wonderful native plant that is fragrant in bloom followed by pearl like fruit. Get ready when flowers occur, fragrance is everywhere. You will love its densely branched habit; you decide the height by pruning. Left on its own, the mature height is around 10 feet tall. The plant grows wide and bushy with terminal branches ending tendril and vine like. It is evergreen, unless it is hit by a really cold spell, then its leaves drop. It will return when the temperatures rise. I am gaga over its sweet vanilla, gardenia like essence, which is hard to believe coming from these teeny tiny flowers. Creamy white and bell shaped but so numerous that its fragrance is intoxicating. They remind me of Lily of the valley, which we all left behind up north. As the flowers mature fruits form as clusters of pea size, white drupes with crystal clear, fleshy pulp. These cascades of berry appearance remind us of snow and are how it received such a peculiar name-Snowberry. This stage of fruiting is when wildlife especially birds adore this plant. I have experienced several breath-taking moments when crimson Cardinals wander up and down this already striking plant. After the fruit, the seeds form, which are dark chocolate brown and fleshy. Snowberry will grow on a wide variety of soils and sand. Once you see the abundant blossoms you will love this plant. Once you are mesmerized by the fragrance it will be on your gotta have list. I began my love of Snowberry, with my first plant I purchased from the SCCF Native Plant Nursery. Its native status puts it in the easy care, drought tolerant, and lack of pests/disease category. Super for our tropical climate due to its drought tolerance and full to filtered sun. Snowberry from days gone has been under used in our tropical landscape. I encourage you to try one, once you see it flower and fruit, don't forget to thank me!

Pros: Oodles of blooms and fruit - Does well in sandy soil - Likes full sun/partial shade - Easy to maintain/prune Birds love the fruit - Salt tolerance Great for a cottage garden look Pollinator attractor Gives garden dimension with shiny green leaf color when not in bloom - Drought tolerant Neighbors will wonder where that lovely fragrance is coming from - Easy care Native.

Article Photos

Cons: Fast grower Pollinator attractor Birds love the fruit May have to thank Anita - Cold sensitive.

Conclusion: Are you missin' your snow? Come see our version, minus the cold temperatures, in our tropical garden in paradise. Leave your snow boots at home-flip flops only!

Don't wanna miss this bloomer!

 
 

 

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