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Sunday - August 31, 2008

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


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!!


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





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