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
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.


Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

 

 

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Rose canker in roses on cedar posts
May 24, 2007 - While visiting the wildflower Center I saw that some of the plants were growing on trellis' made of posts cut from cedar trees. I made a trellis for my climbing rose bush and where the stems touched...
view the full question and answer

Texas sage losing inner leaves
May 14, 2015 - I have a Texas Sage bush that on the outside is beautiful with green leaves. The inside branches (the middle) of the bush are bare of any leaves. Why?
view the full question and answer

Problems with Eastern hemlock in Greenville SC
July 02, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a beautiful, young, 5 and a half foot tall Eastern Hemlock. I purchased and planted it two years ago in the fall. It has been doing very well all this spring. And ne...
view the full question and answer

Need to identify leaf extensions on the leaves of an elm sapling in Houston, Tx.
May 22, 2013 - I have an elm sapling which grows strange leave extensions on its leaves. Can I send you a picture? Tree looks healthy
view the full question and answer

Why are my Spanish Oaks dropping branches that appear to be alive?
June 24, 2009 - We have two large Spanish Oaks that we planted ourselves. They both have begun to loose large branches that aren't dead. These branches just break off and fall. There is usually a wind, but not to th...
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