When the colorful leaves of autumn fall and annuals succumb to frost, berries add color to the garden landscape. Here are 50 photos of beautiful berry-bearing flowering plants with something for every home gardener. And remember, berries aren’t just for you to enjoy through months of cold weather. They are also a vital winter food source that helps birds and wildlife get to spring.
But berries aren’t just for winter beauty and feeding wildlife. Many of the 50 fabulous berry flowers here also look great in the summer, and some are even edible. But some are not, so please read the descriptions before you dig into their fruit.
Amelanchier is a beloved landscape shrub in Canada, where it is also known as shadwood, shadbush, saskatoon, chuckley pear, wild plum, and serviceberry. It’s one of about 20 species of low-growing cold-tolerant plants in the rose family. Winter protection isn’t needed, and there is some strain of Amelanchier that works for every USDA hardiness zone in climates ranging from central Saskatchewan to Hawaii.
I have grown beautyberries in Central Texas and in North Carolina to feed robins, mockingbirds, finches, and woodpeckers. The problem in Central Texas is that this delicious berry also feeds armadillos, opossums, foxes, squirrel, and deer, which aren’t good friends of well-tended gardens. People can eat beautyberries, too, but the taste is “medicinal.” Beautyberries prefer deep, rich, organic soil, but they can grow and fruit in any well-drained soil with lots of water. Beautyberry is a good understory plant for dappled shade.
You can think of a bilberry as a cool-climate, even sub-arctic blueberry. They are hard to grow and the fruit is small — but delicious. Bilberries favor moist, acidic, nutrient depleted soils. About 20 percent of the land mass of Sweden is covered in bilberries, but even if you live in a more temperate climate (up to about USDA hardiness zone 6), you can grow bilberries in shaded locations with regular irrigation and sulfur or peat moss to maintain acidity.
This is the popular health food also known as the Tibetan gojiberry.or Hei Guo Gou Qi. Its black berries are used for everything from treating hormonal complaints to treating blindness in camels. I’ll leave the evidence for medicinal applications for another time, but this berry is also a nice backdrop for fall garden plantings.
Like many other plants from Tibet, this berry requires full sun but thrives in dry soils. Grow seedings in pots the first year and transplant them outdoors the next spring. Black gojiberry survives winters as cold as those in USDA hardiness zone 4 but needs partial sage protection from summer heat when temperatures exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius).
Blackthorn is a tree for the birds and the bees and the butterflies. Its spiny branches provide shelter for birds to raise their fledglings, and its leaves provide fodder for caterpillars. The nectar and pollen are an abundant source of food for bees and hummingbirds.
You have to try hard to fail at growing a blackthorn. It grows on almost any soil, in shade, and in full sun. But it is susceptible to fungal diseases in warm, humid weather.
I never had a lot of success growing blueberries as a garden plant, but I always enjoyed them as a landscape plant. Blueberries are fussy about acidic soil (they prefer a pH below 5.5) and getting an even supply of summer water, not too much, never drying out. They wilt in temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius). But they are winter hardy all the way to USDA hardiness zone 3. They are a great plant for attracting bumblebees.
Ceylon gooseberry is a shrubby, spiny tropical plant that can grow up to about 15 feet (5 m) tall in locations that don’t get winter frost. It grows fast and is covered with purple, velvety, edible fruits that are as attractive in the landscape as they are delicious on the table. This is a plant that can be grown in a tub if it is given protection from the cold. It tolerates drought but needs regular watering to produce fruit.
Checkerberry (Box Berry, Checkerberry)
Checkberry is a fussy plant that needs rich soil with lots of humus that is well-drained, with morning sun and afternoon sun. But you get it established, it will take over the landscape. This plant can be adapted to USDA hardiness zones 3 through 8.
My cousins in Canada go on and on about making chokeberry jelly. I tried the fruit raw and I thought my mouth would be permanently puckered, but it is OK when it has been cooked. The blue-black fruit is a nice addition to a late summer landscape. Keep in mind that this shrub can go grow as much as 10 to 12 feet (3 to 4 meters) tall in warmer climates, where gardeners will need to fight suckers to keep it from becoming invasive. It is best suited for USDA hardiness zones 3 through 6.
You can grow your own holly for Christmas wreaths. Plant in well-drained but not dry, slightly acidic soil in full sun. But don’t worry if your location is not ideal. Christmas holly is a hardy plant.
If you ever go to IKEA, you may come across a nice selection of cloudberry jellies and jams. This plant is native to cool climates all the way to the sub-Arctic, USDA hardiness zones 1 through 5, but it makes a nice background plant with its amber-colored edible fruit in climates as warm as USDA hardiness zone 7.
Like many people in Austin, which is closer to Latin America than to the rest of the United States, I like to take a rare three-day weekend in Costa Rica. One of the less adventurous activities in Costa Rica is chilling out at coffee plantations, admiring not just the freshly roasted coffee beans but also the beautiful displays of white flowers and red berries. There are always coffee plants packaged for US customs in the airport, so one trip I bought one.
It really is possible to raise coffee as a patio plan if you keep it in the shade and protect it from both heat and cold. You may have to experiment to find the exact combination of potting soil for best bloom, but it’s worth the effort.
Coralberries may a tasty snack for wildlife, although they are toxic to humans. This is a plant for stabilizing bare embankments of clay soil and attracting hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, and moths. Plant in USDA hardiness zones 2 through 7.
It’s easy to take care of a cotoneaster. Plant it in fertile soil in sun or partial shade in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 8, and let it thrive all on its own. This plant only requires good drainage.
This interesting medicinal plant prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade. And it prefers rich, well-drained soil but will make so in almost any location. It grows in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 11, although it will die back when winter temperatures fall much below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (about -18 degrees Celsius).
Currants aren’t just for jelly making. They have maple-like lobed lees and tiny berries in black, white, red, and pink. They can be trained into standards for formal landscapes. And they attract winter birds. Grow in partial shade in well-watered locations in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 8.
Dogwoods are famed for their flowers, but they also bear gorgeous berries. There is a dogwood for almost any location in the continental United States except for deserts, but all dogwoods need acidic soil and dappled sunlight.
Fans of herbal medicine will recognize the elderberry as the main ingredient in an herbal elixir for preventing the flu. (It actually helps.) In the landscape, elderberries are an attractive way to disguise sump pump or downspout drains. Their berries are great for birds and people. Grow in damp soil in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 8.
Not all goji berries are black. This species is fussy about pH, preferring alkaline soil of at least 7 and preferably about 8.1. You can train this plant along walls and trellises in full sun.
We usually think of verbena as a low-lying plant, but this verbena is a small tree that can grow up to 20 feet (6 meters) tall. Blue and lavender flowers are followed by tight clusters of yellow or orange berries that are attractive to birds but toxic for people, especially small children, as well as dogs and cats. Fortunately, this plant grows thorns that discourage children from climbing it. It sports thorns as it ages.
Hummingbirds and butterflies love the nectar in gooseberry blossoms. People love the green and red berries for making jams and pies. Plant gooseberries under windows to deter burglars. Gooseberries prefer acidic soil and steady moisture. They are suitable for USDA hardiness zones 3 through 8.
Believe it or not, grapes are actually berries. In the landscape, they are wonderful accents for fences and stone walls. They are the obvious choice for draping over an arbor. Grapes need alkaline soil, but not too alkaline, and good drainage, but regular irrigation in the summer. There are grapes for USDA hardiness zones 2 through 10. Just make sure you plant the vines where you can prune them to keep them productive.
Guraná (Yerba Maté)
I had never heard of guraná outside the tropics until a friend who is a primary herbalist showed me a specimen growing on her patio. The secret to growing this herbal plant form Paraguay is careful frost protection — even a few minutes below freezing will kill them — and an acidic potting mix, preferably with a pH of 4.0 to 6.0.
Hawthorns are beautiful trees that produce white or pink flowers followed by red berries. The berries are used in a government-approved heart medicine in Germany, and they are made into candy in China and Korea. You can grow hawthorn on loamy soil with year-round rainfall, preferably as an understory plant in USDA hardiness zones 2 through 9.
Honeyberry is a hardy landscaping plant that grows 3 to 4 feet (about a meter) tall in full sun or partial shade. If you want a display of berries in the fall, you will need at least one male and one female plant. Any well-watered soil will work, and the plant is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 10.
Huckleberry (in the United States, other plants are known as huckleberries in the UK)
If you have cool summers and acidic soil, preferably of volcanic origin, you can grow huckleberries. One of the few species that survived the explosion of Mt. St. Helens was the huckleberry, so you would have to try hard not to succeed with them if you have the right climate, USDA hardiness zone 4 to 7 with cool summers.
Here’s an interesting but potentially risky addition to your edible garden landscape. This South American and Mexican berry has an interesting taste that something like a cross between tomatoes and grapes. But it’s toxic until it is ripe, as are all other parts of the plant. Grow as an annual in pots unless you live in the tropics. Use the plant for interest and color in your vegetable garden or on your deck.
Junipers attract wildlife. They have evergreen foliage and beautiful berries. And they wick water out of the soil, making drought worse for surrounding plants, and can be hyperallergenic in the winter. But they are incredibly easy to grow on alkaline, rocky ground and suitable in some situations in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 10.
Kiwis are delicious. They are also ornamental. They grow on long, large, vigorous vines that attach to trellises or walls by twining. Since they can live for decades, they are worth the effort to start, but you will need to speak with the nursery about the varieties best suited for your soil and climate.
Most varieties of kiwi are dioicous, that is, they require a male plant and female plant to reproduce. But the Issai kiwi has been bred to have flowers of both sexes on the same plant.
Lantana (Spanish Flag)
The lantana is a berry-bearing verbena that is prized both for its abundant flowers that last all summer and its beautiful black berries that feed wildlife in the winter. In many places, lantanas are invasive. They don’t need any care at all once they are established. You will spend more time keeping them where you want them than you will spend taking care of them. They are hardy down to about -10 degrees Fahrenheit (-23 degrees Celsius). I have never had to water them even in Texas.
Madrones are astonishing beautiful plants that are frustratingly hard to grow. I have often thought the only way I would ever get one to grow is to find a madrone whisperer, and sure enough, there is a horticulturist in Dripping Springs, Texas who bills himself as such.
Mike Prochoroff says he tells his madrones “Grow a great root system, because I’m not always going to be here to water you. Don’t get too used to me and do it on your own,” you consarned plant. (I added that last part.)
Madrones favor alkaline soils, year-round rains without flooding, and temperatures that include freezing weather in the winter so they can rest but hot weather in the summer so they can bloom and develop their beautiful bark. You’ll have to try several times to get madrones to grow, so take notes, and get advice from local primary gardeners.
I’ve had success growing mahonias in alkaline soil in full sun, but all the books say they prefer acidic soil and partial shade. These plants definitely need protection from the wind but are tolerant of a wide range of temperatures.
Just as my mahonias apparently never heard of how the experts thought they should grow, my nandinas bore beautiful displays of red berries all winter long despite the fact I grew them in alkaline soil instead of acidic and in clay instead of sand. is quite compact and disease resistant, reaching a mature height of about two feet. Nandinas prefer full sun.
Here’s another plant I’ve encountered in my role of internationally recognized herbal medicine expert, but I’ve never been able to grow. The root of this plant is a good source of berberine, which has applications in treating bacterial infections and diabetes.
As a landscape plant, Oregon grape is what I like to call a beautiful blob. It has an irregular shape, with coarse leaves and upright stems, forming a mound up to 8 feet (a little under 3 meters) tall. It’s native to the northwestern United States and requires cool summers and constant light rainfall. Direct sun burns its leaves. Oregon grape is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9.
Partridge berries are the moderates of the plant world. They need deep soil that is well-drained. They need morning sun with afternoon shade. They need open ground, but they will cover it. Once you get partridge berries started, they will establish new plants where the nodes of their stems touch the ground. You will have a winter display of dark green foliage and blood-red berries. Grow in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 7.
If you live in the tropics, here is a fast-growing plant (4 to 6 feet, that is, 150 to 200 cm every year) that bears berries that are both ornamental and edible. I have encountered it in gardens in Central America, but I would have to have a huge greenhouse to grow it in the United States. But if you are gardening in the tropics, it’s a great plant for recovering clear-cut ground. The red, peach-like fruits are delicious. This tree will grow under a canopy or in full sun.
Here is a towering annual plant in the nightshade family that bears orange berries inside a “balloon.” It’s a lot like a tomatillo in that regard. The flowers attract birds and bats and the fruit are edible for people. Grow in humid, warm-summer locations on any kind of soil.
Here is a native American plant, well adapted to the lower Midwest, that bears green flowers followed by black berries. Catbirds, mockingbirds, cardinals, and thrashers love the berries, but they are poisonous to humans. You won’t have to plant your pokeberry. You will only have to decide whether you want to keep it. If you live in a suitable climate, it will appear as a volunteer plant. It’s great for birds but toxic to pets and people.
Ampelopsis glandulosa var. brevipedunculata
Porcelain berry is the kudzu of beautiful berries. The blue, purple, green, pink, or yellow berries appear in June through August on woody climbing vines that survive year after year on roadsides, old fields, and flood plains. It’s another plant you won’t have to worry about how to nurture.
You will only need to decide whether you want to keep it when it finds you. You can distinguish the berries from grapes by the pith inside. Grapes have a brown pith, but the pith of porcelain berries is white.
Here is a berry-bearing tree in the rose family. Growing up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) tall, pyracantha bear small white flowers in the spring and early summer than are followed by yellow, orange, or more often red berries in the fall and winter. They grow on any kind of soil with adequate irrigation, but they are easiest to maintain as an understory plant.
Here’s a tree (or, in colder climates, a shrub) that bears a colorful berry that is used to make schnapps. The limiting factor for this plant is summer heat. It tolerates winters down to USDA hardiness zone 2.
If you are looking for beautiful landscape plant that can stand cold winters, the “sea” buckthorn is a great choice. This exceptionally hardy tree survives winter temperatures as low as -45 F (−43°C). It has an extensive root system that helps it survive drought and makes it useful for stabilizing loose soil. I have worked with companies in Canada that processed the berries for cosmetics, but I have no experience in growing it in warm-summer climates.
If you have moist, well-drained soil, and either full sunlight or partial shade, you can grow spicebush. Just supplement poor soils with 10-10-10 (NPK) fertilizer once a month,
If you can’t make a go of growing strawberries for eating — and I never have — you can always use them for a ground cover. The white flowers and red berries will attract birds, bees, and butterflies. Strawberries prefer mildly acidic soil (pH of 6 to 7), regular moisture, and dappled sunlight.
The secret to success with strawberry trees is choosing the right strain of the species. The hybrid Arbutus “’Marina” is adaptable to a variety of soils and climates and thrives under garden conditions.
If you like Middle Eastern food, you are already familiar with sumac. Here is a versatile plant that thrives on any kind of well-drained soil but requires full sun to develop colorful berries and brilliant fall foliage.
This exotic honeysuckle is native to Siberia. It bears white, pink, or crimson fragrant flowers that are followed by big red or orange berries. The plant forms thickets that provide both food and shelter for birds, but it is very hard to uproot. Grow in USDA hardiness zones 2 through 9.
Here is a fast-growing woody tree that quickly reaches about 12 feet (4 meters). It is adapted to humid climates in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11. The edible berries are sour before they ripen, like a persimmon, but sweet when they turn orange-red. Grow this tree for birds and butterflies.
Here is a wonderful addition to landscaping on decks and around swimming pools. It’s important to keep it dry during the winter. Add river sand and compost if you have a heavy clay soil. Protect from frost and avoid overwatering.
Viburnums will thrive in either full sun or partial shade, but they need rich, deep but well-drained soil. Plant in USDA hardiness zones 2 through 10.
Ilex verticillata ‘
Unlike its cousin the Christmas holly, this holly loses its leaves and needs to be grown in dappled shade. If you buy the “Winter Red” (female) variety, you will need a “Southern Gentleman” (male) variety nearby to get berries.