It is a broadleaf evergreen shrub with leaves that are glossy green most of the year, occasionally bronzy in winter. It bears small white to pink bell-shaped flowers. The fruits vary in color depending on the cultivar, these fruits are the main reason this shrub is an outstanding beauty.
There are varieties with pink berries, white berries, lilac berries, the brightest conceivable glistening red berries. These develop in summer following the blooming period and they persist through autumn and winter. When it blooms in May, it still has a good load of the previous year's red berries on all the branches.
Pernettya prefers sun to part shade, loamy acidic soil, it has a higher than average water need so can even tolerate swampy conditions, yet once established will not suffer too much from occasional short periods of drought. It is hardy in a wide temperature range and is not subject to wind-burn.