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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - November 25, 2005

From: Alpena, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Inadvisability of introducing American Beautyberry to Michigan
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I recently brought back to Michigan from Florida 2 young beauty berry plants. I currently have them in a pot inside my home. They are growing quite well, and show a hearty appearance. What are the chances that I can get them to grow outside next spring/summer? I really want to have this plant a part of my landscaping. It is so beautiful, and would be so easy to grow. I live in Alpena, Michigan. I appreciate your help in this.

ANSWER:

It is very unlikely that the American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) would survive the Michigan winters since its natural range is the southeastern United States. You can see the distribution map and read about some of the plant's characteristics and growth requirements in the USDA Plants Database. The USDA Hardiness Zone designation for this plant is Zones 6-10. The American beautyberry is a beautiful plant and it is certainly understandable that you would want to grow it in Michigan. However, even if it would survive in Michigan, we would not recommend that you introduce a plant that is not native to the region. Indeed, even if it were native to Michigan we would not recommend that you transplant a Florida plant with its unique genotypic component into the Michigan population.

 

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