Rhodotypos scandens (Black Jetbead) is a large shrub that can reach 5 to 10 feet tall. Native to China, it is grown in USDA Zones 4-10. This deciduous plant has ovate and serrated, medium green leaves and produces white to off-white flowers in late spring to early summer. These give way to glossy, jet black, bead-like berries.
Rhodotypos scandens is best grown in full sun to semi-shade in moist, well-drained soil. Regular water is recommended during hot weather, and moderate water during the cooler months. Being a tough plant, it adapts well to urban situations and once established, should be drought-tolerant.
When growing in pots, it is best to use good quality potting mix to ensure that the plant has enough nutrients and water to thrive. Remember that Rhodotypos scandens needs at least six hours of direct sunlight every day and more in cold regions. It is important to also keep the soil moist, especially during winter and hot summer days. In cold regions, provide extra protection against extreme cold. Put the pot in a sheltered spot and mulch it with straw to provide insulation.
Not only are the berries of this plant poisonous or toxic, but the entire plant is toxic.