Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

Support the plant database you love!

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

Wednesday - July 02, 2014

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Watering, Shrubs
Title: Problem with American Beautyberry in Houston.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

My American Beautyberry is dying one branch at a time. The entire plant looks great, now flowering and starting to put out berries. Then one or two branches will completely die. Trim those off, will be fine for a couple of days, then, dead branch. Planted in April in Houston, full sun. Watered about 4-5 days a week for 1st couple months. Now watering three days a week. Allowed to dry between watering. Read online that cucumber mosaic virus has really been hitting beauty berries. Hope that's not it. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

You say that your plant looks fine. I’ve included a link from University of Florida Extension  containing an article  with images about American Beautyberry plants with Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV) . As you can see, those plants don’t look fine. This may eliminate CMV as the cause of your problem. You might want to follow up with your Harris County Office of Texas AgriLife Extension who can help you diagnose CMV.

GIven the fact that the plant was planted in April,  Mr. Smarty Plants is going to guess that your plant may be suffering from transplant shock. These two links to Northscping.com#1, and #2  describe the condition and give tips for remedying the problem.

Check out the plant profile for American Beautyberry Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)  and scroll down to Growing Conditions. It tells us that the light requirement is partial shade. Too much sunlight may be part of the problem.  Going forward under soil moisture, we see that although it requires moist soil, watering 4-5 times a week seems a bit much. Cut back to two times a week and see what happens. These watering tips from Oregon State University may prove halpful.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Sooty mold on Texas Sage in Silsbee, TX.
July 20, 2011 - I just saw two questions from December regarding black sooty mold appearing on leaves of Texas Sage. My Texas Sage is two years old growing in the original, well-draining large pot it was planted in ...
view the full question and answer

Strange growth on oak tree
August 26, 2008 - i have a very strange round segmented growth on a tree in my yard. i think the tree is a chinkapin oak and the growth is a reddish color. it looks like a ball with suction cups on it. it is very st...
view the full question and answer

Redbud leaves turning yellow in mid-summer
July 13, 2012 - The leaves on our redbud trees are turning yellow. The yellow leaves are pale with no other spots and no dark veins. I don't know for sure which variety of redbud they are or how old they are (more t...
view the full question and answer

Can a Quaking aspen grow in central Texas?
August 11, 2015 - I live in Austin and like the idea of a Quaking Aspen tree. I live on a creek and the tree(s) would get good sun and water. Am I crazy?
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of Salvia greggii from San Antonio
June 29, 2011 - We bought Salvia greggii at the Wildflower Center Plant Sale three years ago and planted them in a well drained area. We cut them back early in the year as recommended at Go Native U classes. ...
view the full question and answer

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