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

Trimming dead blooms from turkscap in San Antonio
July 10, 2009 - Great answer to the Turk's Plant question. But, I can't seem to find an answer to mine. I've had Turk's plants for years and cut them back as you suggest, but have always been confused about wha...
view the full question and answer

Need a perennial plant for a cemetery plot in Lexington, KY.
April 16, 2012 - What type of perennial plants to place on a cemetery plot in Lexington, KY. Receives afternoon sun.
view the full question and answer

Small Yard Tree for Washington DC
July 20, 2012 - What do you suggest for a tree or shrub in my front yard? The yard is small; 9 ft x 12 ft. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Identifcation of strange orange growth on shrubs
May 04, 2009 - I have found a strange orange ball shape with softer spikes about 1-2 in. growing from it on my shrubs, they grow around the branch. I believe they are Yews. I have never seen them before but now ther...
view the full question and answer

Red buckeye not blooming in NY
July 04, 2011 - I planted my red buckeye in September 2007 and it was about 18 inches tall. It is now a few inches short of 5ft. tall. I have had it in the ground for nearly 4 yrs and it has never bloomed. I have fr...
view the full question and answer

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