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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Wednesday - July 02, 2014

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Watering, Shrubs
Title: Problem with American Beautyberry in Houston.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

My American Beautyberry is dying one branch at a time. The entire plant looks great, now flowering and starting to put out berries. Then one or two branches will completely die. Trim those off, will be fine for a couple of days, then, dead branch. Planted in April in Houston, full sun. Watered about 4-5 days a week for 1st couple months. Now watering three days a week. Allowed to dry between watering. Read online that cucumber mosaic virus has really been hitting beauty berries. Hope that's not it. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

You say that your plant looks fine. I’ve included a link from University of Florida Extension  containing an article  with images about American Beautyberry plants with Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV) . As you can see, those plants don’t look fine. This may eliminate CMV as the cause of your problem. You might want to follow up with your Harris County Office of Texas AgriLife Extension who can help you diagnose CMV.

GIven the fact that the plant was planted in April,  Mr. Smarty Plants is going to guess that your plant may be suffering from transplant shock. These two links to Northscping.com#1, and #2  describe the condition and give tips for remedying the problem.

Check out the plant profile for American Beautyberry Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)  and scroll down to Growing Conditions. It tells us that the light requirement is partial shade. Too much sunlight may be part of the problem.  Going forward under soil moisture, we see that although it requires moist soil, watering 4-5 times a week seems a bit much. Cut back to two times a week and see what happens. These watering tips from Oregon State University may prove halpful.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

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