Osoberry (previously known as Indian Plum) is a fast-growing, multi-stemmed shrub that will steal your heart when it starts leafing-out in February. Just when you thought winter may never end, Osoberry leads the charge with its one-of-a-kind lime-green foliage. Soon after, prolific chains of greenish-white flowers dangle from the branches, which are dioecious (either male or female) and provide an early nectar source for hummingbirds and native bees. The small oval fruits start out yellow-gold in late summer and become bluish-black bird-favorites in the fall.
- Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous perennial large shrub or small tree
- Size at maturity: 3 - 20' high, 5 - 14' wide
- Light requirements: part sun to full shade
- Moisture requirements: dry to moist soil
- Bloom time: Feb - March
- Growth rate/ease: moderately easy to grow, fast growth rate
- Wildlife support: caterpillar host plant, leaves are a food source for larval butterflies and moths, flowers attract and provide nectar for hummingbirds, adult butterflies, bees and other insect pollinators, fruits adored by birds
- Native habitat/range: Common in dry to moist open woods and streambanks from British Columbia south throughout western WA, OR and CA. Portland Plant List - yes.
- Special features & uses: early bloomer, wildlife favorite, excellent for erosion control, use in hedgerows and as a windbreak windbreak, as well as woodland and pollinator gardens
Gardening with Osoberry: Osoberry grows like a large shrub or small tree with a wide variety of forms; dense and full in sunnier areas, thinner and more delicate in the shade. It is happiest in the dappled light of forest giants. It tolerates a range of soil types and can even grow well in clay, making it an excellent choice as a backdrop in any woodland garden, where its plentiful early blooms herald the arrival of spring. If you’re hoping for fruits for birds, be sure to plant both sexes - ask us at pick-up and we can help you identify which is which. Be sure to place this beauty in protected, moist areas since it’s delicate foliage makes it more intolerant of both herbicides and high heat.
Photo Credit 1: "File:J20160225-0061—Oemleria cerasiformis—RPBG (25332995696).jpg" by John Rusk from Berkeley, CA, United States of America is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Photo Credit 2: Tracy Cozine
Photo Credit 3: Nikkie West
Photo Credit 4: Tara Lemezis