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?

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
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

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

Cenizos browning in Houston
October 01, 2011 - After this horrible drought, I am committed to xeriscaping with native Texas plants. The few hibiscus that survived have been transplanted into pots and are thriving. I bid the tiny boxwoods a fond fa...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a steep slope in New York
June 27, 2010 - We just installed a swimming pool in our back yard, which is at the top of a south facing slope. After the pool was installed the slope is now 3 ft higher and very steep (unmowable). I'd guess steepe...
view the full question and answer

Texas Mountain Laurel oozing sap in Spicewood, TX.
July 05, 2012 - We have a Texas mountain laurel that seems to be sweating. Oozing sap with no apparent signs of any type of bore holes, or holes made from any birds.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrub with flowers Alabama
May 21, 2008 - I am looking for an evergreen plant, shrub or the likeness that flowers in the spring that can handle hot afternoon sun in Southeast AL. Can you give me some suggestions, if there is such an animal.
view the full question and answer

Need options for smaller trees in neighborhoods in Austin, TX.
May 25, 2012 - Please discuss smaller tree options for typical Austin neighborhood yards. These houses are built close together on the sides, and only have smallish back yards. They just don't have space for big 50...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center