Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - September 07, 2008

From: Olympia, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Failure to thrive of Actaea simplex in Washington State
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a Actaea simplex 'Hillside Black Beauty' that I planted in mid August 2007 in a partial, almost full shade spot. This year it came back , but the foliage is brown with dark and light green areas (not healthy looking). Also, it has several flower spikes, but they never developed fully, and did not bloom. I realize it is probably too late to help for this year, but am wondering what I need to do to ensure it is a healthier plant for next season.

ANSWER:

In our Native Plant Database, we found six members of the Actaea genus, Actaea elata (tall bugbane), Actaea pachypoda (white baneberry), Actaea rubra (red baneberry), Actaea rubra ssp. arguta (red baneberry), Actaea racemosa var. racemosa (black bugbane) and  Actaea rubra ssp. rubra (red baneberry).

However, Actaea simplex (Kemper Center For Home Gardening), is listed as a native to Mongolia, eastern Russia and Japan, and therefore out of our area of expertise, as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center specializes in the use and propagation of plants native to North America. Hopefully, you can get some information from our webpages on the native Actaea to help you. The cultivar "Hillside Black Beauty" is discussed in this Dave's Forum website. It would appear that at least the native species of this plant are a little slow to develop and usually need two years or so to really get going. Also, they need shade and a moist soil. Give it another year to develop and see how it goes.

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Will Calycanthus floridus (Eastern sweetshrub) grow near black walnut trees?
April 01, 2012 - Will Calycanthus floridus survive if planted near Black Walnut trees? If not, can you recommend a similar bush that will?
view the full question and answer

Year-round flowering in Laredo TX
May 18, 2011 - I'm trying to plant a variety of native plants in my mom's garden in Laredo, TX. The thing that I find a challenge is that she wants year round flowers. Can you suggest a few native flowering plan...
view the full question and answer

Salt-tolerant plants in Central Texas
September 16, 2009 - Do you have any suggestions for salt-tolerant plants in Central Texas? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Texas sage near a granite outcropping from Llano TX
June 10, 2013 - I have a large granite outcropping near my house. There are pockets that have spring flowers growing in them and is just beautiful in the spring. I want to plant other native plants in and about the g...
view the full question and answer

Epiphytic or halophytic trees and shrubs
December 10, 2008 - Hello I was searching on this issue, but couldn't find what I really want, and I would be great full for your assistance. Please could you help me to find the scientific name for the "Trees" or...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.