Snowberry: growing on a personal plot

Table of contents:

Snowberry: growing on a personal plot
Snowberry: growing on a personal plot

Description of the snowberry plant, how to plant and care when growing in a personal plot, reproduction, possible diseases and pests, interesting notes for gardeners, species and varieties.

Snowberry (Symphoricarpos) can be found under various synonyms Snowberry and Snowball or Wolfberry. The plant is part of the genus included in the Honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae). Although it is found in large numbers on our lands, its native range of natural origin belongs to the North American expanses. And only one single species grows naturally without human participation in China - Symphoricarpos sinensis. There are about 15 species in the genus.

Family name Honeysuckle
Growing period Perennial
Vegetation form Shrub
Breeds Vegetatively (by dividing the bush, cuttings, rooting cuttings, root shoots) and only occasionally by seeds
Open ground transplant terms In the spring or autumn
Landing rules Not closer than 1, 2–1, 4 cm from each other and other plantings or buildings
Priming Any, including calcareous, heavy clay or stony
Soil acidity values, pH Any
Illumination level A place well lit by the sun or partial shade
Humidity level Watering during hot and dry days
Special care rules Need feeding and pruning
Height options 0, 2–3 m
Flowering period From July or from August
Type of inflorescences or flowers Racemose inflorescences
Color of flowers Pale pink, greenish white or red
Fruit type Juicy drupe in the form of a ball or ellipse
Fruit color Snow white, red or black
The timing of fruit ripening Since august
Decorative period Summer-autumn
Application in landscape design As a tapeworm or in group plantings, for the formation of hedges, some varieties as ground covers or in mixborders
USDA zone 4–8

It is clear that the plant got its name in Russian due to the pure white color of its fruits, but in Latin its name is made up of a pair of Greek words “symphorien” and “carpos”, which translate as “gathered together” or “located next to” and “fruits - this indicates how the berries of this representative of the flora are placed.

All types of snowberry are shrubs that lose their foliage in autumn. The height of such plants can vary within 0, 2–3 m. The branches are thin, covered with a smooth grayish-brown bark. At first, the shoots grow straight, but over time and under the weight of the fruitlets formed on them, they gradually bend to the soil, giving the bush a graceful outline. The branches have a strong separation, thanks to them, the formation of real thickets occurs.

On the branches, the buds are characterized by the presence of two pairs of scales on the outside. The leaf plates are located opposite, attaching to the shoots by means of short petioles. The outlines of the leaves of the snowberry are oval or ovoid, with 1–2 lobes present at the base. The foliage form is simple, whole-edged. It happens that on shoots that are formed by shoots, leaf plates acquire a notched-toothed edge. The leaves are devoid of stipules. The color of the deciduous mass on the upper side is green, and the reverse has a bluish tint. Leaves can vary in length from 1.5 to 6 cm.

With flowering, which in snowy berries can begin in July or August, flowers of the correct shape bloom on the growth of this year. From them, the final or placed in the upper leaf axils are collected in the form of brushes. There may be 5-15 buds in the inflorescence. Flowers are very tightly placed to each other. The petals in them are painted in a pale pink shade, while the inner part of the petals is whitish, but the outer one has a coloring similar to a pink spray. But there are specimens with a whitish-pink or red tint of flowers. There is a pleasant aroma over the snowberry bush when it blooms. The plant is an excellent honey plant.

After the pollination of the flowers takes place, it is the turn of the ripening of the fruits, because of which this representative of the flora bears its defining name, although the colored berries are in red or black (violet-black) color. The fruits of the snowberry are juicy drupes, which take in their outlines an oval or a ball. The diameter of the drupe can measure 1–2 cm. Inside the berry there are 1–3 bones, which have an oval shape and have more or less compressed contours. The pulp of the fruit is somewhat similar to grainy snow.


Despite the beauty of the fruits of the snowberry, they cannot be used by humans for food because of their toxic properties.

Berries from shoots may not fly around throughout the winter and in nature they feed on quails and pheasants, as well as hazel grouses and waxwings. Due to the fact that the bushes of the snowfield tolerate gas pollution and smoke pollution of urban conditions, and also have a spectacular appearance, they can be planted in parks and gardens without making any special efforts in growing, you just have to adhere to the rules below.

Planting and caring for a snowberry in open ground

Snowberry in the ground
Snowberry in the ground
  1. Landing place can be anything. Such a bush will be good both in an open and sunny location, and in partial shade or dense shade. Can be planted on slopes to stop soil erosion.
  2. Snowberry soil the most different will do and acidity indicators do not play a role here. The plant can thrive in rocky as well as heavy and clayey soil. However, if possible, it is better to provide a loose and fertile substrate, then flowering and fruiting will be lush and abundant. Such a composition contains equal volumes of humus, peat and sand. Superphosphate and potassium sulfate are mixed into the mixture (in a ratio of 200: 100 grams), as well as 500-600 grams of wood ash. For trench planting, such preparations must be applied under each seedling.
  3. Planting a snowberry carried out in the spring or after the fall of the leaves. It is recommended that the seedling reach two years of age. It is better to prepare a pit for a plant in the fall, and if planting is carried out in the fall, then the preparation is done in a month. To form a hedge, a trench is dug over the entire planned area, reaching a depth of 50–60 cm and a width of about 40 cm. There are 4–5 snowberry seedlings for each running meter. If the planting is single or group, then the size of the pit will be 60x60 cm, and the distance between them is left 1, 2-1, 4 m and other plantings or buildings. A drainage layer (expanded clay or broken brick) is placed on the bottom of the pit. After that, the specified nutrient mixture is added to it, and when the contents of the pit settle, then you can engage in planting. Before planting, you can lower the roots of the plant in a clay mash for half an hour. The root collar of the snowberry seedling should be level with the soil in the area. After planting, abundant watering and mulching with peat chips or humus from the trunk circle is necessary.
  4. Watering for a snowberry is necessary only during the dry period, but for only planted plants, moistening is performed daily for 7 days. Adult specimens will need 1.5-2 buckets of water 1-2 times a week. If the precipitation is normal, then you do not need to water the bushes.
  5. Fertilizers when growing snowberries are not needed, but when they are introduced, growth, flowering and fruiting will be more magnificent. In the spring, you can scatter half a bucket of humus in the near-trunk circle, and in the summer you can apply feeding once with any complex mineral preparation (for example, Kemiroi-Universal or Agricola). When autumn approaches, a mixture of superphosphate and potassium sulfate in a ratio of 100: 50–70 grams is embedded in the soil.
  6. General advice on care. For a snowberry, you need to periodically loosen the soil in the near-trunk circle and cover only young plants for the winter, using dry foliage and spruce branches. In the fall, under the bushes, the soil is dug no deeper than 8-10 cm. If you want to change the location of the bush, then young specimens are suitable for this, since as the root system grows, it branches strongly and it will be difficult to do this. The bush is dug in within a radius of 70–100 cm and carefully removed from the substrate. The transplant is carried out according to the above rules, but only the hole should be slightly larger than the root system of the plant.
  7. Pruning carried out for the bushes of the snowberry in early autumn. It is necessary to remove all branches that have been damaged by frost or wind, have dried out or began to thicken the crown, cut out all old shoots. All other branches are shortened by 1 / 2–1 / 4 of the entire length. If the diameter of the cut branch is more than 7 mm, then all the cuts are carefully coated with garden pitch. The specimens are more than 8 years old, it is recommended to cut them “on a stump” after rejuvenating them, leaving only 50-60 cm from the ground.
  8. The use of a snowberry in landscape design. Such bushes will be an ornament, both alone and in group plantings, with their help they form hedges or use them as ground covers.

See also tips for growing honeysuckle, planting and care.

Recommendations for breeding a snowberry

Snowberry bush
Snowberry bush

To get new bushes of the snowfield, they mainly use a vegetative method and only in exceptional cases sow seeds. The first one combined grafting, rooting of cuttings, dividing the bush and jigging root shoots.

Propagation of a snowberry by seeds

Although this process is the most difficult and time-consuming, if you have the desire and time, you can try. After the fruits ripen, it will be necessary to separate the bones from the loose pulp, for this they are folded into cheesecloth and squeezed thoroughly. After that, all the bones are placed in a medium-sized vessel filled with water. The seed is mixed well and wait for the seeds themselves to fall to the bottom, and the remaining pieces of pulp float to the surface. After that, the seeds are removed from the water and left to dry, spread out on a clean cloth.

Sowing seeds of a snowberry is carried out before winter and for this they use the seedling method. It is not recommended to sow in open ground on the garden bed, since the sown seeds can come off along with the snow mass with the arrival of spring. In the seedling containers, a nutritious soil mixture is placed, composed of equal parts of peat crumbs, humus and river coarse-grain sand. The bones are laid out on the surface of the soil, and a thin layer of washed sand is poured over it. To create greenhouse conditions, you need to cover the container with a piece of glass or wrap it with plastic transparent film.

When caring for the crops of a snowberry, bottom irrigation should be carried out, that is, through a sump or, as an option, spray water on the soil surface with a fine spray gun so that the seeds are not washed out of the soil. The collected condensation should be removed every day to prevent the development of putrefactive bacteria. The first shoots of the snowfield will appear only with the arrival of a new spring. When the end of the growing season comes, you can start picking seedlings into open ground.

Propagation of a snowberry by root shoots

Since a large number of young growth grows annually next to the parent shrub of the snowfield, it can be used as seedlings. Thanks to such processes, curtains are formed with a rather high density. In addition, the bush has the property of growing, as it were, displaced from the designated planting site, so it is even periodically recommended to separate such growths. For reproduction, the part of the curtain that suits the taste is separated by digging up and chopping off its roots from the mother plant. All sections are then sprinkled with crushed coal powder for disinfection. Landing is carried out immediately at a pre-prepared place.

Reproduction of a snowberry by dividing a bush

This method is quite easy and can be performed with the arrival of spring, when the snow has melted and the juices have not yet begun to move. Or mix this manipulation for the autumn period, at the end of the leaf fall. An overgrown snowfield bush is suitable for this. It is dug in around the perimeter and removed from the ground. The root system is, if possible, separated from the remains of the soil and its division is carried out. Each of the divisions should have a sufficient number of sufficiently developed roots and healthy shoots, not be small, as this will complicate its engraftment in a new place. The landing rules are followed as for the first time.

Propagation of a snowberry by layering

This method is also popular with gardeners due to its lightness and positive results. For this in the spring, a healthy young branch is selected, which is located closest to the soil surface. In the place where it comes into contact with the substrate, a groove is dug into which the shoot is laid. After that, the branch is fixed in the groove using a rigid wire or hairpin. The cut is covered with soil, but its top remains on the surface.

Care for the layering of the snowberry is carried out throughout the growing season in the same way as for the mother bush: watering, feeding and loosening the soil surface. With the arrival of autumn, the cuttings will have their own root processes and it will be possible to separate it from the adult wolfberry bush. For this, a secateurs are used. The place of the cut is sprinkled with crushed charcoal or activated carbon and planting is carried out on a prepared place in the garden.

Propagation of a snowberry by cuttings

Blanks for this method are cut from green or lignified shoots of the bush. The length of the cuttings should be between 10–20 cm, and each of them should have 3-5 buds. The cut from the top is made over the kidney, and the bottom cut is made obliquely (approximately at an angle of 45 degrees).

In the first case, cutting is carried out in the morning, immediately after flowering ends. Cuttings are cut from healthy, large, developed and well-ripened branches. Such a shoot will break easily when bent. Sliced snowberry blanks are immediately placed in a container with water, into which, if desired, you can add a preparation for stimulating root formation (for example, Kornevin). When cutting from lignified branches of a snowfield, cuttings are best picked at the very beginning of spring or already at the end of autumn. Such twigs should be placed in the sand and stored until the onset of a new spring.

Both green and lignified cuttings should be planted in pots filled with the same nutritious soil mixture as for seed propagation (peat-sand-humus). The deepening of the cutting of the snowberry should be only half a centimeter. For the rooting of cuttings, high humidity is required, both in the soil and in the air, therefore they are transferred to greenhouse or greenhouse conditions. When autumn comes, the cuttings will acquire well-developed roots and you can transplant them to a prepared place in the open field. But such seedlings require shelter for the winter period. You can use dry foliage or spruce branches.

Possible diseases and pests when cultivating a snowberry

The snowberry grows
The snowberry grows

Since the plant is poisonous, many pests and diseases are not afraid of it. However, with regular violations of agricultural cultivation techniques, the snowfield can be affected by the following problems with fungal etymology, arising from overmoistening of the substrate or too high air humidity:

  1. Powdery mildew, which is sometimes referred to as linen (ashes). It is manifested by a layer of whitish color that covers the leaves and interferes with the function of photosynthesis. Subsequently, the foliage of the snowberry will begin to die off and the entire shrub will die. For treatment, it is recommended to remove all parts damaged by plaque and treat the plant with fungicidal agents, such as Topaz or Fundazol.
  2. Gray rot in which the symptoms are plaque, which has the appearance of gray pubescence on the stems or leaves. If measures are not immediately taken to combat such a problem, then this will lead to the withering away of parts of the bush and its death. It is recommended to carry out the same actions as for the previous disease. To treat the snowberry, use the fungicides Skor, Quadris or with a similar effect. In order for the plants not to undergo the diseases described above, it is recommended, as soon as spring comes for prevention, before the juices begin to move and the buds have not swollen, to spray the shrub plantations of the snowfield using Bordeaux liquid at a concentration of 3%.

See also how to protect weigela from pests and diseases in horticultural cultivation.

Interesting notes for gardeners about the snowberry

Flowering snowberry
Flowering snowberry

Even despite the fact that "wolf berries" are poisonous, folk healers knew about them and actively used their properties in alternative medicine. For example, in America, the indigenous population used the berries of the snowberry to heal stomach ulcers. So the pulp of the fruit was kneaded to a mushy state and medicinal drugs were prepared. They are tinctures and decoctions. Such funds helped to get rid of many diseases, such as tuberculosis or sexually transmitted diseases. These drugs help to heal wounds.

However, today scientists have not fully clarified all the properties and features of the snowberry and they have to be applied at their own peril and risk, since they can lead to irreparable consequences. The first signs of wolfberry poisoning are nausea and dizziness, increased weakness, followed by vomiting. It is required to immediately call an ambulance, and the person should take a solution of potassium permanganate, which will cause a gag reflex and clear the stomach.

Description of species and varieties of snowberry

In the photo, the Snowberry is white
In the photo, the Snowberry is white

Snowberry white (Symphoricarpos albus)

is the most popular species among gardeners. Occurs under the names C white softberry or cysticor carpal … The area of natural growth falls on the North American territory, it stretches from the lands of Pennsylvania to the western shores of the Pacific Ocean. Preference is given to the banks of river arteries, slopes in open areas and forests in mountainous areas. The height of the shrub is 1.5 m. In autumn days, the foliage flies. The crown, characterized by rounded outlines, is formed through thin branches. The leaf plates have ovoid or rounded outlines. The leaves are simple, the edge is solid or is notched-lobed. The length of the leaves are measured about 6 cm. The color of the upper side is green, and on the reverse, the color of the foliage is bluish.

During flowering, which begins in mid-summer in the white snowberry, lush inflorescences are formed along the entire shoot, characterized by racemose outlines. Such brushes are composed of small, pale pinkish flowers of the correct shape. The flowering is quite long and differs in the opening of a large number of buds. It is because of this that both fragrant inflorescences and already formed fruit can be seen on the branches of the bush.

The fruits of the white snowberry are juicy drupes. The color, as well as corresponds to the specific name of the pure white color scheme. The shape of the fruits is spherical, the diameter reaches 1 cm. The berries stay on the branches throughout the winter, attracting birds. The variety is characterized by unpretentious care and high resistance to frost. Its cultivation dates back to 1879. Such shrubs are used to form curbs or hedges, look good in group plantings. Berries are dangerous to humans, as they can cause poisoning, dizziness and vomiting.

The most popular is the variety - White weakly branching snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus var.laevigatus). Its height parameters are 1, 2–1, 8 m with a crown width of 2, 4–3, 7 m. The leaves grow flat, green, rounded-oval in shape. When blooming, flowers of pink, red or white color can bloom. Such a bush will naturally look next to the stones.

In the photo, the Snowberry ordinary
In the photo, the Snowberry ordinary

Common snowberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus)

also found under the names Rounded snowberry or Snowberry pink, may be called Coralberry. In its native lands, which fall on the territory of North America, it is called "Indian currant". Such bushes grow on river banks and open meadows. The plant is large in size, despite the fact that its crown is formed by thin branches covered with small leaf plates. The color of the deciduous mass is dark green, and the underside of the leaves is bluish.

In the process of flowering, the inflorescences-brushes are formed lush, but not too long. Flowers have pink petals. With the arrival of autumn, flowers are replaced by rather spectacular fruits. The color of the drupes of the rounded snowberry has a reddish-purple or coral color. The shape of the fruits is hemispherical, in some specimens they are covered with a bloom of a bluish tone. During this period, the foliage acquires a purple hue, adding decorativeness to the plant.

The species is characterized by high frost resistance compared to the white snowberry. It can winter well when cultivated in the middle lane. The most popular species in the territory of Western European countries. However, the most decorative varieties are:

  • Tuffs Silver Age which has a whitish edging on the leaf plates;
  • Variegatus characterized by an irregular whitish-yellow stripe.
In the photo, the Western Snowberry
In the photo, the Western Snowberry

Western snowberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis)

This species is also of North American origin, but is found most often in the western lands, although it grows in the central region and in the east of the continent. Forms shrub thickets along the banks of rivers and streams, and also fills rocky slopes. The height of its branches reaches 1.5 m. The leaf plates on the front side have a pale greenish color, on the wrong side, due to the tomentose pubescence, the color is bluish.

When the middle of summer comes, dense and short racemose inflorescences, collected from flowers resembling bells, are formed on the branches of the western snowberry. The color of the petals in them is whitish or pinkish. Flowering stretches from the arrival of July to the end of summer. The flowers are gradually replaced by soft-to-touch fruits with spherical outlines. The color of the berries is snow-white or pale pink.

In the photo, the Snowberry is mountain-loving
In the photo, the Snowberry is mountain-loving

Mountain-loving snowberry (Symphoricarpos oreophilus)

resembles a native of North America (its western regions). The height of the shrub is about one and a half meters. The leaf plates are weakly pubescent, the outlines take rounded or oval. On the branches in July, singly growing or in pairs connected flowers appear, with bell-shaped corollas. Flowers are painted with a pinkish or whitish shade. With the arrival of August, the place of flowers is taken by fruits - drupes, in which there are a couple of seeds inside. The shape of the fruit is spherical, the color is white. The frost resistance of this species is average.

In the photo Snowberry Chenot
In the photo Snowberry Chenot

Chenot's Snowberry (Symphoricarpos x chenaultii)

is a plant obtained by hybridization, in which the common and small-leaved snowberry (Symphoricarpos microphylus) took part. The bush has a low height, but its shoots are covered with dense pubescence. The length of the leaf plates reach 2.5 cm. The fruits have an interesting color: pinkish with a whitish barrel, reminiscent of cheeks. The frost resistance of such plants is relatively low.

In the photo, Henault's Snowberry
In the photo, Henault's Snowberry

Chenaultii Snowberry (Symphoricarpos x chenaultii)

it is also a hybrid, shrub-shaped, the shoots of which extend to a height of 150 cm and the same crown diameter. The leaf plates on the front side have a rich dark green color, on the back side it is gray due to pubescence. Leaves unfold on the branches very early, and do not fly around for a long time. Inflorescences-racemes are composed of pinkish regular flowers. Drupe berries are rounded outlines, their color varies from snow-white to lilac color. The fruits can stay on the branches throughout the winter.

The best variety of Henault snowberry is Hancock, which has shoots creeping along the surface of the soil, they can take a curly shape or bend in the form of arches. The plant does not exceed 0.6 m in height, despite the fact that its width is 1.5–3 m. It is a deciduous shrub that has the property of rooting by branches when it comes into contact with the soil. By the end of the summer period, many small flowers of a pinkish or coral shade are formed on the tops of the shoots. It has abundant fruiting. By the fall, the flowers are replaced by clusters of drupes, which have a whitish-pink or pure pink color scheme, which remain on the branches for the winter.

The crown is dense. The medium-sized leaf plates of the Hancock Snowberry are characterized by a bluish-green color. The foliage is kept on the branches from the beginning of spring to the very frost. The height of the bush reaches 60 cm with a crown width of 1.5–3 m, the growth rate is quite high. The thickets quickly take on the appearance of green pillows. The shoots are elongated and creeping along the ground, in addition to the vertically growing branches.

The Hancock snowberry variety is best planted in a sunny location or in partial shade, but a thick shade is also suitable. It does not show preferences for the soil; it grows well in a heavy and clayey substrate. It has high drought resistance properties and perfectly tolerates urban conditions with polluted and smoky air. It is used as a ground cover crop or in mixborders, shaded gardens, planted on slopes and slopes, if it is necessary to strengthen the soil to prevent erosion.

In the photo, Dorenboz's Snowberry
In the photo, Dorenboz's Snowberry

Dorenboz's Snowberry (Symphoricarpos doorenbosii)

is a collection of varieties of hybrid origin, which were created by the Dutch breeder Doorenbos. The varieties of this species were obtained by crossing such varieties as the rounded snowberry and the white snowberry. The differences between the varieties are in the number of fruits formed and the compactness of the outlines of the bush:

  • Mother of Pearl or Nacre has elliptical foliage and dark emerald color. Drupes have a white background and a slight pink blush on the side.
  • Magic Berry or Magic berries has abundant fruiting, in which the shoots are completely decorated with berries of a rich pink color.
  • White Hage represented by a bush with erect shoots, on which snow-white fruits are formed at the end of summer.
  • Amethyst a variety with high indicators of frost resistance. In height, the branches of the bush reach one and a half meters. The foliage is dark green in color. When blooming, rather nondescript flowers with petals of a pale pink tone are revealed. The fruits are characterized by a pinkish-white color and a rounded shape.

In addition to the above-described species, it is customary to grow round-leaved snowberry (Symphoricarpos rotundifolius) and small-leaved (Symphoricarpos microphyllus), Chinese (Symphoricarpos sinensis) and soft (Symphoricarpos mollis) in gardens, Mexican (Symphoricarpos mexicanus) is also interesting.

Related article: How to plant kolkvitsiya and care in the open field

Video about growing a snowberry on a personal plot:

Photos of the snowberry:

Snowberry Photo 1
Snowberry Photo 1
Snowberry Photo 2
Snowberry Photo 2
Snowberry Photo 3
Snowberry Photo 3
Snowberry Photo 4
Snowberry Photo 4
Snowberry Photo 5
Snowberry Photo 5