Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
1 rating

Monday - July 30, 2007

From: Pittsburgh, PA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: Protection of American beautyberry in Pennsylvania
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have had a beauty berry 2 years now. I trim it back in early spring and it returns beautifully. ...but no flowers this year and it's almost August. Last year, very few berries. Can you help? It is in a fairly sunny spot. I am in Pittsburgh.

ANSWER:

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) is a native much loved by birds and gardeners for its lush berries and ability to do well in shade or partial shade. American beautyberry occurs naturally from Maryland south and southwest to Texas. In Pennsylvania you are in Zone 5 and probably need to protect your beautyberries with a thicker mulch in the winter, depending on your location and elevation. The American beautyberry grows naturally on the forest floor, and one source said it helps to replicate the conditions of filtered sun, rich organic soil and lots of water. The beautyberry will sometimes fail to fruit or drop leaves during drought periods. Pruning in late winter seems to be okay, and should encourage lusher growth and more flowers and berries.

So, having tried to establish what care is good for your plants, we still are not sure what is causing the sparseness of flowers and berries. While American beautyberry is a shade-loving plant, it flowers better if it receives at least some sun each day. In heavy shade it is not likely to set fruit well. Since yours in in a sunny spot, that is not likely the problem. You say you have had the beautyberry two years. Is it possible that it has not matured enough yet to produce the kind of flowers and berries you are expecting? We at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center applaud your practice of growing native plants and suggest that with a few alterations in the way you care for them and perhaps a little patience, your young plant will grow up to be large and lovely.


Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

 

 

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Fasciated Texas mountain laurel
November 05, 2013 - I've noticed some strange things hanging off some of the purple mountain laurels in my area. They hang low, and look almost like large, dangling trumpet flowers, but are flat, and have little bumps o...
view the full question and answer

Where to test for Bacterial Leaf Scorch in Austin, Texas
September 26, 2010 - It appears that the American elm trees in my backyard may have Bacterial Leaf scorch. Where can I have this confirmed?
view the full question and answer

Leaves dropping on evergreen sumac in San Antonio
January 11, 2012 - I have a large evergreen sumac in my back yard that started off as a small shrub 10 years ago. This summer the leaves turned red and now have dropped off. Is the plant dead? It sent out two smaller pl...
view the full question and answer

Oak bark problems from Stillwater OK
May 14, 2012 - In my clients large oak tree there is bark stripped from the limbs in small pieces. No piece is larger than 1 inch by 1 inch and occurs on limbs high in the canopy. It does not look like squirrel doin...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Juniperus scopulorum in Dallas
May 19, 2011 - Dallas, Texas - Juniperus Scopolorum "Skyrocket" Last June I planted six, five foot tall along my chain length fence by the alley. Full sun. One died within 6 months. The soil seems to stay damp...
view the full question and answer

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