Pernettya

Pernettya are evergreen shrubs grown primarily for their marble-like berries which may be scarlet, crimson, purple, pink, lilac, mauve or white according to variety. Pernettya mucronata is the best kind, usually about 3 ft. high, spreading into a dense thicket by means of suckers, and with small, white, heather-like flowers in May—June. Sometimes the flowers on a bush are all of one sex, and since only the female flowers can produce berries and then only if fertilized with pollen from male flowers, it may be necessary to plant several bushes to be certain of a display. But there are also hermaphrodite varieties (I.e. varieties producing both male and female sex organs) and these will both produce berries on their own and fertilize purely female bushes. Bell’s Seedling, with deep red berries, is such an hermaphrodite form.

All varieties require acid soil, dislike chalk and limestone, and fruit freely in sunny places though they grow quite well in shade. Pruning in the ordinary sense is not usually necessary or desirable, but if plants threaten to spread too far they can be chopped back with a sharp spade in spring. Many of the rooted pieces dug out in this way can be grown on into good bushes if desired.

Pernettya

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