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
2 ratings

Tuesday - July 13, 2010

From: Birmingham, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Planting, Transplants, Watering
Title: Transplant shock in American beautyberry in Birmingham AL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We created a new garden area in our yard that gets full sun in the afternoon. I had a Beautyberry Bush that had seriously outgrown the area where we originally planted it (also full sun), so I transplanted it in the new garden to give it more room - not thinking that the temperatures may be too hot to move it now. After 3-4 days it is still wilted. I water it regularly and really don't want to lose it. What do you recommend?

ANSWER:

You have just joined the Leap Before You Look Club, which has a very large membership.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) needs part shade, which we consider to be 2 to 6 hours of sun a day. This USDA Plant Profile shows it growing in scattered locations in Alabama, which may be a function of the soil or soil moisture. The page on this plant in our Native Plant Database has this comment:

"Native Habitat: Found in woods, moist thickets, wet slopes, low rich bottomlands, and at the edges of swamps in the Piney Woods, Post Oak Woods, Blackland woodlands, and coastal woodlands. Moist woods; coastal plains; swamp edges, bottomlands" 

From the same webpage, here are growing conditions for the American beautyberry:

"American beautyberry is a wonderful, large understory shrub with a naturally loose and graceful arching form. In the fall and early winter, the branches are laden with magenta purple (sometimes white)berry clusters that look spectacular as the leaves drop in autumn. It is useful as a screen in swampy or wooded locations or under shade trees in a garden setting. It can be cut to 12" above the base each winter to encourage more compact growth, flowers and fruit. It can also be left to mature naturally into a tall woody shrub . The shrub may temporarily defoliate and lose developing fruit during periods of prolonged summer drought."

Note that the treatment for an overgrown bush is trimming during the winter to encourage more compact growth. What is NOT recommended, never, ever, is transplanting a woody plant, a large woody plant, anywhere in the middle of the summer. There is not much we can recommend, short of a Time Machine that will take you back before you did that, so you could not do it. The plant is in severe transplant shock, and being in full sun instead of the part shade it needs makes it that much worse. The best thing we can suggest (besides the Time Machine) is to water it gently, making sure the drainage is good so water is not standing on the roots, and don't fertilize. You should never fertilize a stressed plant, which this one obviously is, because the fertilizer will be trying to encourage the roots to grow, when the roots are just trying to stay alive.

If it manages to live until cool weather, you can scrape off a thin layer of bark with your thumbnail to see if there a thin layer of green beneath it, which means it is still alive. Then, trim it down in the Winter, as described above, and move it, if you can, to a shadier location. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

 

 

 

More Transplants Questions

Transplanting Trillium in Quebec.
May 13, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in the Laurentiens of Quebec where they are putting a HWY in my back yard. I have a lot of white trillium that I am wanting to transplant before they start the excava...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Magnolia grandiflora
June 11, 2007 - We just moved to Plano TX and there's a magnolia tree planted between our house and the driveway. (The tree is 7ft tall and it's about 7ft from the side of house and 4ft from the driveway) I alway...
view the full question and answer

Possible transplant shock in recently planted Anacua in San Antonio, TX.
February 10, 2011 - I planted an Anacua tree from a nursery this past November. The tree I purchased was about 6ft tall and was a leftover from the spring. The roots were pretty wound up inside. After shaking the roots l...
view the full question and answer

Viability of Texas Mountain Laurel in Florida
March 12, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants While visiting Pinnacle Peak in Scottsdale we saw a beautiful Texas Mountain Laurel tree. What are the chances of this surviving in the Ft. Myers, Florida area. Either in t...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a Century Plant in Pennsylvania
July 08, 2008 - When is the best time to transplant a Century Plant?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center