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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 - December 30, 2011

From: NYC, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Propagation, Shrubs
Title: Can I Grow Beautyberry
Answered by: Marilyn Kircus

QUESTION:

Will try to be brief. Beautyberry sprouted leaves in vase of branches in water. It's NYC beginning of winter. Can I plant it outside? If not will it grow in a pot inside? Thanks. Happy New Year

ANSWER:

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) is not native anywhere in the state of New York.  But it can grow there, according to the Plant Files in Dave's Garden. I would not plant it outside until the ground can be worked in spring. If you can pot it up and then keep it cool and perhaps mist it or put it on rocks in tray with a little water to keep the humidity high, and give it bright light, it may grow for you. Use a potting mix that includes compost or add some.  Don't use a mix that has fertilizer in it.

In the south it prefers to grow as an understory bush.  But you can give it more sun up north, perhaps as much as full sun. I'd make sure it gets at least 5 or 6 hours of full sun. It also likes rich, loamy soil so you may have to build it a spot with additional compost mixed in with your soil.

Good luck with a beautiful plant that will feed birds.

 

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