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

Friday - March 14, 2008

From: Santa barbara, CA
Region: California
Topic: Pruning
Title: Branching on plants
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Hi Mr SmartyPlants, I would like to cause my cerus peruvinesus (sp?) to branch low to the ground and another plant to branch higher up..what causes branching & how can I duplicate this?


Not even Google could find the plant by the name you gave us, but after playing around a little bit, we discovered Cereus peruvianus, sometimes called the "night-blooming cereus." This is an upright cactus plant, originating in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the promotion and propagation of plants native to North America; therefore, this plant (if it's the plant you're talking about) is somewhat out of our area of expertise. However, we did find a couple of websites that might help you out. The first one is Cereus Peruvianus-The Least and Best Known Cactus. The other website is a page of images of Cereus peruvianus.

Your second question, on branching and how to duplicate it, I'm afraid we're not going to be much help there, either. Are you talking about a woody shrub or tree? Another cactus? Generally, speaking, plants branch where they wish to, they can't be trained to put out a branch where one is wanted. What you can do is trim off unwanted branches to expose more trunk, at least on a woody plant. Since we didn't give you the information you wanted, here are two suggestions: (1) If, after looking at the pictures of the Cereus peruvianus, you don't feel that is the plant you are talking about, perhaps you could send us a picture and see if we can identify it. There are instructions for sending a digital picture in the lower right hand corner of the "Ask Mr. Smarty Plants" page. (2) If you have a specific type of plant you want to try to change or control the branching on, you might let us know what that is, and we'll see if we can find some help for you on that issue.


More Pruning Questions

Southern Magnolia Damaged by Deer
April 16, 2015 - I have a young Southern Magnolia (about 6 feet tall) that was damaged by deer on the main trunk. The bottom 2 feet looks okay, but where they damaged it and tore branches off, and above that, the leav...
view the full question and answer

Runaway growth on mountain laurel in Coolidge AZ
July 01, 2010 - I have 2 mountain laurels. They are thriving well. In fact one is growing way too fast. I am growing it as a tree, but the branches are in excess of 6 feet, while the trunk is only 18 or so inches. I ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Live Oak trees to limit height.
June 08, 2015 - I notice many of my neighbors here in Katy (Fort Bend county) would have landscapers cut the lower limbs/branches of the live oak trees in their front yards, and the trees naturally keep getting talle...
view the full question and answer

Adventitious sprouts from Live Oak in Dallas
February 26, 2011 - How do I kill Holly growing in my yard? I have a Live Oak tree growing in my Bermuda grass lawn. The holly grows under the tree from the trunk extending out about 12-15 ft. It grows right in with the ...
view the full question and answer

How can I control underground runners from from Pride of Houston Yaupons in Austin, TX?
July 16, 2010 - How can I control the underground runners from the Pride of Houston Yaupons?
view the full question and answer

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