Another question about pruning beautyberry

amateur_expert(z6 MD)April 18, 2006

I have the 'Issai' - one lonesome bush that looked great when I bought it but seems to be reluctant to get going this spring.

I have green leaves just starting to appear on some parts of some of the woody stems. I had to keep telling my husband it was in fact alive because he didn't believe me until these few leaves started popping out. I've seen no growth from the base of the plant (where's the new wood come from?). Should I just prune it now to encourage new growth or see what it is going to do and hope it turns into something this year? Or am I just impatient and it just needs a little more time? ... now that I think about it I overheard an employee at my local nursery tell another customer that they don't get them in until summer - is that because they look horrible until summer? LOL. Thanks for your help!

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juicylucy(z5 IN)

Hi amateur,

My beautyberries are just now ~barely~ starting to leaf out in zone 5, they are somewhat late to leaf and get going. Once they wake up though they grow pretty fast. You can prune it if you want, how big is it? The resident rabbits prune mine down to about 6" every winter but by late summer you would never know.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 4:52PM
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amateur_expert(z6 MD)

Thanks so much. It is about 2 1/2 feet and looks so dead and ugly. We have lots of rabbits - I wonder why they didn't eat it? Oh well. I'll just wait and see what happens...

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 6:29PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

I have three Callicarpa "Issai' and I cut them back to stubs every spring. Once they get going they grow fast, and by summer they're about 5 feet tall.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 6:55AM
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amateur_expert(z6 MD)

laceyvail: Do you find they look nicer when you do that?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 7:21AM
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The first year/winter I had mine, the rabbits did their thing as described by juicylucy, and the plant looked great the next summer. So I always cut it back either in the winter or very early spring - if the rabbits haven't already beat me to it. Keeps the bush under control and no old woody stems. I moved mine this winter and it's just now starting to send up mew sprouts.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 8:03AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

anateur expert--Callicarpa dichotomas, of which 'Issai' is one cultivar, definitely do better treated as cut back plants, like Buddleias. They don't leaf out for a very long time, but then they make a tight, compact mass about 4 1/2 to 5 feet tall.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 8:11AM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Yes, all the Beautyberries are very slow to leaf out. They can be prunned alot and will just grow better for it.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 7:57PM
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