En Español

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

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.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - August 21, 2014

From: North Pownal, VT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Planting, Pruning, Transplants, Shrubs
Title: Transplanting and Pruning Callicarpa
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I saw the previous question about Callicarpa from the guy in Texas and I have two questions based on the response. In SW Vermont, is late fall still the best time to transplant my Callicarpas? Also, it says to cut them back to 12". Should I do this 12" cut to shrubs that are easily 6' tall?

ANSWER:

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) is a great shrub for a shady, woodland garden. The tall, graceful, arching branches do often reach 5 or 6 feet in height and width.  But the most striking feature is the iridescent purple fruit that ripen on the branches in the fall and often stay into the winter until several hard frosts turn them brown.

You can treat this shrub either by pruning it to 12 inches from the soil in early spring (before new growth starts in your part of Vermont) or by leaving it unpruned if you have room for a tall, woody shrub.  If you prune it back to 12 inches each spring, you will encourage it to be a denser and shorter plant.

Late fall is too late for transplanting your Callicarpa in Vermont. Early fall is a better time so that the plant has time to get established while the soil is still warm.  The second best time to transplant is first thing in the spring as soon as the soil has dried a bit.

 

From the Image Gallery


American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

More Pruning Questions

Pruning of tree poppy from Livermore CA
May 29, 2013 - We have a Dendromecon rigida which has been in place for about 10 years and is doing fine. But the older growth gets dry, brown and crinkly, while the newer growth is bright and lush. I would like t...
view the full question and answer

Hurricane damage to pecan tree
November 12, 2008 - The recent hurricane twisted the top out of our pecan tree, leaving a couple still attached but down on the ground. Could we cut all of the damage off and just leave the trunk? Would there be a chan...
view the full question and answer

Failure of older branches on Bauhinia lunarioides to thrive
April 27, 2008 - We planted a sapling of the Anacacho Orchid Tree (Bauhinia lunarioides) winter (Jan, Feb?) and now it has leaves and blooms - but only off of new branches near its trunk, as the old branches haven't ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Roughleaf dogwood
November 28, 2013 - We put 5 rough-leaf dogwoods along our side deck; having been told (by the local, natural plant seller) that they would reach a maximum height of 6 feet. They have grown taller than that (despite som...
view the full question and answer

Will a cut back yucca grow back in Lockbourne OH?
October 28, 2009 - I live in Ohio and recently I cut back all my plants to prepare for winter. I am wondering if my Yuccas will grow back. I cut them to ground level so only a little bit of the leaf is showing. I was...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center