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Interesting Facts

Leycesteria is endemic to the woodlands of India, the Himalayas, China, and Myanmar. The plants have hollow, cane-like stems.

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Pheasant Berry   Golden Lanterns® (Leycesteria formosa)

Chartreuse foliage combines with purple to red bracts for a color treat. Blooms mid-summer. Attracts butterflies, bees and birds. Edible berries taste like caramel or chocolate.

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Plant Types: Perennial, Shrub
Light: Partial Shade to Full Sun
Height: 3 feet to 5 feet
Width: 3 feet to 4 feet
Zones: 6 to 10
Bloom Color: White
Bloom Seasons: Mid summer
Leaf Color: Green, Yellow
Special Features: Deer resistant
Shape: Upright or erect
Fertilizer: Composted Yard Trimmings
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Plant Care

Dig a hole one foot wider and about as deep as the plant's rootball. Do not plant too deep. Roots should be visible at the surface of the soil and the top of the rootball should be even with the surrounding soil. In clay soil, the rootball should be slightly higher.

Remove plants from their containers. Place plants in hole. Loosen roots by making four or five slashes, about one-inch deep vertically down the rootball with a knife. Then tease the roots out so they will grow into the surrounding soil. Be careful not to knock too much soil from the rootball.

Backfill with a mix of existing soil and 1/2 soil amendment thoroughly mixed. In sandy porous soils, use sphagnum (Canadian) peat moss. In dense clay or poorly drained soils, use soil conditioner (finely ground pine bark).

Water thoroughly. Then only water when the soil is dry to the touch about 1 1/2 inches or knuckle deep. Check regularly and only water when necessary.

To give your new plant a head start, use a very mild solution of water soluble root-stimulating fertilizer which is high in phosphorous and potassium.

Plant Growth:

Suckering, deciduous shrubs, found mainly in woodlands. Grows best in full sun or partial shade, with protection from cold winds. Leycesteria works well in a woodland garden or shrub border. In sites where Leycesteria is not growing hardy, raise plants in a cool greenhouse with a minimum temperature of 35°F (2°C). During the day, set temperatures between 41-50°F (5-10°C), and at night, keep the temperature at 36°F (2°C).


Bloom times vary with the species. Flowers are tubular and 5-lobed. L. formosa produces long-lasting red bracts below the blooms.

Soil and Irrigation:

Leycesteria thrives in soil that is moderately fertile and well-draining.


Fertilizer is not generally required for good plant output, but provide marginally hardy plants with a good mulch in fall.


After flowering, cut back flowered shoots to stronger lower shoots or buds. Established plants should be pruned more extensively; cut back old shoots to the base to promote new growth.