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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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Thursday - August 21, 2014

From: North Pownal, VT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Planting, Pruning, Transplants, Shrubs
Title: Transplanting and Pruning Callicarpa
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I saw the previous question about Callicarpa from the guy in Texas and I have two questions based on the response. In SW Vermont, is late fall still the best time to transplant my Callicarpas? Also, it says to cut them back to 12". Should I do this 12" cut to shrubs that are easily 6' tall?

ANSWER:

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) is a great shrub for a shady, woodland garden. The tall, graceful, arching branches do often reach 5 or 6 feet in height and width.  But the most striking feature is the iridescent purple fruit that ripen on the branches in the fall and often stay into the winter until several hard frosts turn them brown.

You can treat this shrub either by pruning it to 12 inches from the soil in early spring (before new growth starts in your part of Vermont) or by leaving it unpruned if you have room for a tall, woody shrub.  If you prune it back to 12 inches each spring, you will encourage it to be a denser and shorter plant.

Late fall is too late for transplanting your Callicarpa in Vermont. Early fall is a better time so that the plant has time to get established while the soil is still warm.  The second best time to transplant is first thing in the spring as soon as the soil has dried a bit.

 

From the Image Gallery


American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

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