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?


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
1 rating

Monday - October 05, 2009

From: Medina, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Propagation
Title: Propagating American Beautyberry in Medina OH
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I brought home a small branch of American beautyberries when I was vacationing in N. Carolina. How do I go about planting them and will they survive in the Cleveland area?


Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) is considered hardy from USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to 10. Medina, OH is in Zones 5b to 6a, average annual minimal temperature -15 to -5 deg. F. On that alone, we would not believe it very likely that the shrub, which is native to North Carolina,  would survive in your area. 

However, it won't cost you anything to experiment. Here are the Propagation Instructions for the American Beautyberry:

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

We were unsuccessful in finding any indication if the berry should be planted directly into the soil or dried, cleaned and refrigerated first. So, if you have berries left, we would suggest you just sow them where you think they might grow, just as if they had dropped off a shrub as winter began. You could also sow them in pots with potting soil. Here are their Growing Conditions so you will have a good idea of where is the best place to put the seeds.

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Moist, rich soils, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Acid-based, Calcareous 

Since you obviously don't have mature clumps to divide, that only leaves taking cuttings. Whether your branch is still viable, we couldn't say, but you will need to take those cuttings right away, if you want to try that. Here is our favorite website on propagation by cuttings, from North Carolina State University Horticulture Information Leaflet, Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana









More Propagation Questions

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

Student project on Hudson Valley, NY native plants and ecology
January 16, 2009 - Mr. Smarty, Hi I am starting a project with a school group 4th-6th grade, that has a greenhouse. The goal is to teach children about native plants & ecology of the Hudson valley region in NY. We will ...
view the full question and answer

Possibility of propagating buckeye from basal shoots
June 25, 2008 - I have a beautiful red buckeye tree that has small shoots coming up at the base. I would love to share these with my friends. How do I do this?
view the full question and answer

Will horseherb (Calyptocarpus vialis) survive planting in July
July 14, 2008 - I live in Southwest Austin and I am planting horseherb groundcover in my back yard that is part-shade. Can I plant this right now (July) or is it too hot to plant?
view the full question and answer

Problems with chile pequin from Pflugerville TX
July 19, 2012 - Hello there! I have a question about my chile pequin (Capsicum annuum L.) plant. I purchased it last year from the Wildflower Center Fall Plant Sale. It stayed in a pot until three months ago when I p...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center