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Known scientifically as Symphoricarpos albus, the snowberry plant grows most often in various parts of the U.S. and any area with cold-to-warm temperatures. The plant produces white, berry-like fruits within its foliage. With the right doses of sunlight, soil and water, the snowberry grows upward of six feet (approximately 1.8 m) in height. Snowberry works well as a companion or an ornamental plant that is sometimes used by wildlife and livestock.
Snowberries are considered perennials that rebloom for several years. The deciduous shrubs may be North American natives, but they may also be planted in any low-lying locations where temperatures range from approximately -40 degrees Fahrenheit (or -37.3 degrees Celsius) to about 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-14.9 degrees Celsius). Snowberries are also often growing within woodland areas, sites near rivers and streams, and within mountain ranges. They tolerate mountain elevations of up to approximately 10,500 feet (approximately 3,200 m).
Features of the ornamental plants include upright, green foliage with a “scattered” pattern of leaves. Round- and oval-shaped leaves with five veins underneath characterize the overall makeup of snowberry plants. Clusters of bell-shaped white and pink flowers develop on the plants by the beginning of the spring season. The flowers then eventually morph into small white, berry- or snowball-like fruits by late summer. The fruit, which feel light and airy when handled, usually endure the fall and winter seasons, die back by the following spring, and then reappear by the following summer.
Snowberry plants may grow as tall as 6 feet (approximately 1.8 m). They also spread out at a width of 6 feet (182 cm) when fed the right nutrients in adequate amounts. Moist, well-drained, alkaline soils work best for these deciduous shrubs. Flower gardeners may also allow the soil to slightly dry between watering to avoid problems like powdery mildew or plant or twig rot. Light exposure requirements for the snowberry garden plants range from partial shade to full sunlight, which are common for most perennials.
Snowberries, which are planted by spreading seeds and layering the soil, usually complement other grasses, flowers, and plants. The berries may often appear more attractive when planted with fuchsias and dogwood blooms. Symphoricarpos albus that grow alongside the green leaves of low Oregon grape plants also add ornamental value. Snowberries can also make a good choice for landscape revegetation.
Some birds, small mammals, wild game, and livestock use the snowberry as foliage. The low-lying availability of the snowberry fruits allows these animals to feed on them from the spring through fall. Snowberries are, however, toxic to humans and household pets.
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