En EspaŅol

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?


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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 28, 2007

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Groundcovers, Shrubs
Title: Coexistence of rubus trivialis and American beautyberry
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I'm growing some rubus trivialis in a 1-gal. pot and plan to plant it this fall. Will this dewberry coexist with American beautyberry, or must it have its own space entirely? If it needs its own space, how much space does it need? If planted along the foundation, will rainfall runoff be enough for it, or does it really need to be in the floodplain? That's where it occurs in Pflugerville. I was thinking of putting it in bright shade/partial sun along the east side of my house, as ground cover around some beautyberry. Alternatively I could put it near the creek in the greenbelt directly behind my house but would have to protect it from the HOA's "mowheads," who have wiped out all the wildlife habitat along that stretch of the creek. It's been in a pot for about a month and seems to be doing fine with the spring rainfall. I rustled a few stems from a neighborhood that has the sense to leave their creekside wild.


I'm assuming that the Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) is already in place on the east side of your house in bright shade to partial sun, and is doing all right. The beautyberry can grow in sun to partial shade, can tolerate full sun with supplemental watering and needs dry to moist soil. Rubus trivialis (southern dewberry) requires well-drained, moist soil, and can grow in semi-shade to full sun, but requires a well-drained, moist soil. So, it would appear they could co-exist in the same bed, with perhaps a little more water than the Beautyberry requires in order to satisfy the needs of the Dewberry. Whether the Dewberry will serve as a ground cover for the Beautyberry is a matter of personal preference. The Dewberry has long, stiff, thorny canes (in the Rosaceae family) and might not be tame enough for a ground cover, per se. Certainly, it appears the Dewberry would do well in the nearby greenbelt creek, and it wouldn't be very easy to mow, but could certainly be damaged if your "mowheads" are determined enough.


Callicarpa americana

Rubus trivialis



More Shrubs Questions

Holding soil on a bank in Goldsboro, NC
July 25, 2010 - I live in Goldsboro, NC on a small ridge with a very steep bank on one side of our property. What native plants can we plant on the bank to help hold the soil. Also, what would be best to plant on t...
view the full question and answer

Native plants suitable for rock garden in New York
March 26, 2006 - I'd like to start a rock garden. The area is very rocky, the soil is shallow and it's partially shaded. I'd like mostly perennials that flower from spring to fall. I hope to make some purchases fr...
view the full question and answer

Stem canker or leaf fungus in Morella cerifera
June 14, 2007 - Dear Mr.Smarty Pants: The upper half of our wax myrtle, which we had allowed (with artful pruning) to reach about ten feet suddenly died this spring (it dropped most of its leaves and didn't sprout...
view the full question and answer

Need replacements for old arborvitaes destroyed by snow and ice in Reisterstown, MD.
February 07, 2011 - Our big old arborvitaes have been destroyed by snow and ice. Rather than a fence we would like to use plants/bushes for privacy. We live in zip 21136. This would extend all across the back property l...
view the full question and answer

Identification of eleagnus-like shrub
August 21, 2007 - There is a plant on our land I can't identify. It has a tree-like smooth light gray "trunk", with leaves similar to an eleagnus (grayish green and rough on top, lighter underneath). I can't find...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center