Common Snowberry

Symphoricarpos albus

When choosing a new tree, shrub or plant, it’s important to consider the soil, moisture and light conditions you have in each location so they can thrive. Many plants will grow in a variety of soils, but some are more particular. Common snowberry, or Symphoricarpos albus, is a shrub that will thrive in difficult soils where others may struggle, including heavy clay soils and rocky or gravelly soils.

This small, densely stemmed shrub stands out in late summer and fall when clusters of white berries form. Keep an eye out for American robins, cedar waxwings or hermit thrushes feasting on them in your yard.

Early in the summer, its small pink flowers will attract a variety of pollinators, including many native bees such as bumblebees, mason bees and green metallic bees. Several moth species also use this shrub as a host plant for their caterpillars.

Snowberry grows best in sun or part shade and looks best when planted with other shrubs to create a diverse and attractive landscape. Consider creating shrub clusters or a hedgerow by adding some purple-flowering raspberry or northern bush honeysuckle around your snowberry. You can also try adding Canada yew or groundcovers like wild ginger or heart-leaf aster in front.

Snowberry can be planted in the spring or fall, but it’s best to avoid planting in areas with standing water. It will spread by suckers, so allow room for spreading, or clip at ground level to control. Avoid planting western snowberry which is non-native and often spreads aggressively.

For more shrub ideas check out our Woodland Plant List.

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