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

Sunday - August 31, 2008

From: Waxhaw, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Propagation
Title: Propagation of native American beautyberry in North Carolina
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have found a beauty berry bush growing wild in the woods. It is huge! I broke off a couple of branches (1/4 " in diameter) and wonder if it will root if I just stick it in good moist soil. I already have!!

ANSWER:

Hey, whatever works. If it sprouts, the answer is yes, of course, you can do that. The webpage for  Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) has these propagation instructions:

Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Seed, Root cuttings, softwood tip cuttings and, to a much lesser extent, division of mature clumps 

Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings (North Carolina State University, Horticulture Information Leaflets) has information on the various ways to propagate a woody plant beyond seeds.

Herbaceous cuttings are made from non-woody, herbaceous plants such as coleus, chrysanthemums, and dahlia. A 3- to 5-inch piece of stem is cut from the parent plant. The leaves on the lower one-third to one-half of the stem are removed. A high percentage of the cuttings root, and they do so quickly. Obviously, since you have a woody plant, this is not for you.

Softwood cuttings are prepared from soft, succulent, new growth of woody plants, just as it begins to harden (mature). Shoots are suitable for making softwood cuttings when they can be snapped easily when bent and when they still have a gradation of leaf size (oldest leaves are mature while newest leaves are still small). For most woody plants, this stage occurs in May, June, or July. The soft shoots are quite tender, and extra care must be taken to keep them from drying out. The extra effort pays off, because they root quickly.

Semi-hardwood cuttings are usually prepared from partially mature wood of the current season’s growth, just after a flush of growth. This type of cutting normally is made from mid-July to early fall. The wood is reasonably firm and the leaves of mature size. Many broadleaf evergreen shrubs and some conifers are propagated by this method. This is the right season for this kind of propagation. 

Hardwood cuttings are taken from dormant, mature stems in late fall, winter, or early spring. Plants generally are fully dormant with no obvious signs of active growth. The wood is firm and does not bend easily. Hardwood cuttings are used most often for deciduous shrubs but can be used for many evergreens. Examples of plants propagated at the hardwood stage include forsythia, privet, fig, grape, and spirea. Wrong time of year for this, you need dormancy.

Read the whole article for the various ways to propagate woody plants, but if your branches you stuck in the dirt start to leaf out and develop roots, just ignore what we said. 


Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

 

 

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Non-native Moth Mullein as a garden plant from Starksville MS
July 09, 2011 - I collected seeds from a beautiful Moth Mullein growing in a lot which will soon be bulldozed. Would I regret sowing them in the back of a sunny perennial bed this fall. These are from the white-pin...
view the full question and answer

Reseeding with Gulf cordgrass, Spartina spartinae
May 23, 2007 - Are the seeds of Spartina spartinae sterile? If not, when is the best time to harvest for replanting? We are involved in the restoration of the Bahia Grande section of the Laguna Atascosa National Wi...
view the full question and answer

Kinnikinnick for a green roof
July 04, 2012 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I live just north of Seattle and want to build a green roof (outdoor kitchen) I'm concerned about the weight of the soil (saturated), drainage etc. am building from scratch and...
view the full question and answer

Encouraging Daisies to Reappear
September 16, 2007 - Having moved into our home in the early spring of the year we hadn't seen any of the flowering plants around the place until we were living here and we were not given any info on care for them. So ...
view the full question and answer

Removing competition of mustang grapes from live oaks
January 26, 2006 - We have several native mustang grape vines on our rural property that seem to be taking over the live oaks on which they are becoming entwined. Is it advisable to remove them or are they harmless? And...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center