Q: Are these bushes good for northern MO-? I am in Maryville Mo
A: It is typically a more southern species. When we first started selling it, we advised people that it probably wouldn't grow well north of I-70. We've had reports of customers growing it successfully as far north as Kirksville, MO where they planted it on the south side of their house. You can help insulate it overwinter by piling leaves around it. You'll need to remove the leaves the following spring. It can die back to the ground after harsh, cold winters, but it often resprouts from the plant base. If that happens, you can cut off the previous year's dead stems after you see the new sprouts.
Q: Is there a reliable horticultural practice for Callicarpa americana in spring? I've had about half-dozen from you now. Some die if you don't cut them back. Some come roaring back if stems are cut back to 6-8". Some die if you do cut them back. I haven't seen a recognizable pattern for either cutting back or leaving them alone in spring. Any suggestions?.
A: Generally, you would want to trim them after they started growing in the spring. This will allow you to see if last year's growth survived the winter. Plants that are cut back every spring should grow into a starburst pattern with long arching stems. If they are not cut back, much of the growth will occur from the previous year's stems.
Southern Missouri represents the northern edge of beautyberry's natural range. Winter temperatures are the main factor in survival from year to year. It would be good practice to mulch them heavily each fall; piling about a foot of leaves around them will help insulate them. The excessive leaves/mulch should be removed in March or April.
Q: how tall and wide does this bush get? Can it take full sun? Does it require a lot of watering and care?
A: In Missouri, it usually reaches a height of 4 or 5 feet. Its usually as wide as it is tall. It does not require a lot of watering. It will benefit from some mulch when planted, especially when planted in the fall and its immediate future is a seemingly unending, bitterly cold, dark winter....so, just water it when you plant it, mulch it well, and then water in the summer if it looks thirsty.
Q: how big is the American beauty berry scrub?
A: In Missouri, they usually grow to be about 4 feet by 4 feet. They can get bigger than that.
Q: How much sun does American Beauty Berry need?
A: It can take full sun and will also grow in bright open areas or partial shade. It won't like heavy shade.
Q: Is the American beauty berry edible? How large does the bush get?
A: In our experience, the berries are edible but flavorless. Here are a couple of other sources: http://www.wildflower.org/expert/show.php?id=2971 and http://www.eattheweeds.com/beautyberry-jelly-on-a-roll/ . In Missouri, the plants grow to around 4 feet by 4 feet. In warmer states to the south, they can grow to about 8 feet. American beauty berry grows rapidly and responds well to pruning in late winter.
Q: How tall are your 1 gallon Beauty Berry shrubs? And, are they single or multi branched?
A: If you get one in April or May, it will be shorter than 12 inches, most likely. If you get one in September or October, it should be at least 2 feet tall. They are almost never single stemmed; by October, they will certainly be multi-branched. They grow fast when the weather warms up.
Q: Will it grow near a walnut tree ?
A: Probably, but we've never checked for sure.
Q: When is the best time to plant these bushes?
Q: I have dense clusters of milkweed bugs on some leaves of American Beauty Berry. It's Nov 3rd and we'll get first frost tonight. What about the bugs? I live in St Louis.
A: The bugs are unlikely to cause any damage to the beauty berry plant. If the frost causes the leaves to wilt, the bugs will likely leave.