Explore Plants

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
    
 

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
1 rating

Monday - July 30, 2007

From: Pittsburgh, PA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: Protection of American beautyberry in Pennsylvania
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have had a beauty berry 2 years now. I trim it back in early spring and it returns beautifully. ...but no flowers this year and it's almost August. Last year, very few berries. Can you help? It is in a fairly sunny spot. I am in Pittsburgh.

ANSWER:

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) is a native much loved by birds and gardeners for its lush berries and ability to do well in shade or partial shade. American beautyberry occurs naturally from Maryland south and southwest to Texas. In Pennsylvania you are in Zone 5 and probably need to protect your beautyberries with a thicker mulch in the winter, depending on your location and elevation. The American beautyberry grows naturally on the forest floor, and one source said it helps to replicate the conditions of filtered sun, rich organic soil and lots of water. The beautyberry will sometimes fail to fruit or drop leaves during drought periods. Pruning in late winter seems to be okay, and should encourage lusher growth and more flowers and berries.

So, having tried to establish what care is good for your plants, we still are not sure what is causing the sparseness of flowers and berries. While American beautyberry is a shade-loving plant, it flowers better if it receives at least some sun each day. In heavy shade it is not likely to set fruit well. Since yours in in a sunny spot, that is not likely the problem. You say you have had the beautyberry two years. Is it possible that it has not matured enough yet to produce the kind of flowers and berries you are expecting? We at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center applaud your practice of growing native plants and suggest that with a few alterations in the way you care for them and perhaps a little patience, your young plant will grow up to be large and lovely.

 

 

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Bark damage to Tulip Tree
August 10, 2006 - I have a tulip tree planted. It is about 9-10 years old. Two years ago the tree looked as though the trunk was cracked. Maybe hit by lightning after a storm. This year the bark on the side of tree...
view the full question and answer

Fronds turning brown on yucca in Leander, TX
April 13, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I live Northwest of Austin in Leander and have grown a spanish dagger yucca for several years. It is 8 feet tall and each spring it puts up a showy spike of blooms. The old fr...
view the full question and answer

What is eating the plants in my garden?
August 08, 2008 - I have both purple and yellow coneflowers. Something is coming into my garden and eating the flowers off the stems. We don't have deer but may have other small animals that can get into our yard. Do ...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves of Texas Sage (Cenizo) from Las Vegas NV
November 21, 2013 - Leaves of Texas Sage are turning yellow. Can you tell me why?
view the full question and answer

Vascular wilt in Rhus virens
June 22, 2007 - Hi Smarty: Our evergreen sumac grew beautifully this spring (it is about 2 years old -- we got it at the LBJ Wildflower Center plant sale). Then its leaves suddenly drooped last month (May) and turn...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.