Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

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

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

More Pruning Questions

Failure to thrive of Texas Mountain Laurel in Austin
May 02, 2010 - I have an adult (over 25 years?, 20 feet tall?) Mountain Laurel next to my house in Austin. The winter of 2009/10 it lost most of its leaves. It did bloom and leaf out this Spring--not vigorous espec...
view the full question and answer

Pruning non-native Chinese fringe flower from Austin
June 24, 2013 - When is the best time of year to prune Plum Delight? And how severely can it be cut back?
view the full question and answer

Pruning Texas madrone trees from Utopia TX
August 19, 2012 - I have a number of large Texas Madrone trees on my ranch in Utopia Texas. A few of them have dead limbs and I was wondering whether I should cut off the dead limbs or just leave the tree alone. I wa...
view the full question and answer

Non-native pomegranate failing to fruit from Highland Village TX
October 20, 2012 - Last spring I planted a pomegranate tree (type: Wonderful) which is supposed to produce edible fruit. It had 5 or 6 absolutely beautiful blooms, but each of them dropped off and no sign of fruit. Is...
view the full question and answer

Controlling pumpkin vine in British Columbia
July 15, 2008 - I have never grown pumpkins before but decided to try one plant this year. It seems to be taking over my small garden space. Can I prune it back? I only want one or two pumpkins for my grandchildre...
view the full question and answer

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