En EspaŅol

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?


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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - September 02, 2008

From: Chippewa Falls, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Planting instructions for Ilex verticillata in Wisconsin
Answered by: Barbara Medford


We have a winterberry tree and we would like to grow another one in a different area. Can we transplant part of that or do we need to start from scratch? How would we know what the male plant looks like? When is the best time to plant? What would we need from the orginal tree?


The male of the Ilex verticillata (common winterberry) has no berries. In Wisconsin, the best time to plant is early Spring, when the soil begins to warm. It is probably a little late to plant it now, as an early frost could damage or kill the little plant. You must have both a male and female plant to have berries. The male must be the same species as the female and bloom at the same time. Because hollies are such popular landscape plants, it may be worth the risk to plant a female and hope there is a male nearby.

Plants can be propagated by taking cuttings from the original plant. The problem is, it will probably be four to five years before any of the plants are ready to bloom and have berries. You would have to take and cultivate a number of cuttings to assure having one or more viable plants result. This article, Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings (North Carolina State University Horticulture Information Leaflets) will give you the information you need about what part of the plant to take cuttings from and when to do it.


More Propagation Questions

At what age does Possumhaw (Ilex decidua) begin to flower in Pflugerville, TX?
January 13, 2011 - At what age does a female possumhaw (Ilex decidua) usually bloom and set fruit? Or is there a way to identify the female other than by the presence of berries? I grew a number from seed and want to ...
view the full question and answer

Resprouting of native prairie plants after snowstorm
April 07, 2007 - Will my prairie plants that have broken dormancy be harmed by a spring snowstorm? Temperatures have fallen down into the twenties and forecast to stay sub-freezing for five or six days. We have abou...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of wax myrtle from Lafayette LA
December 10, 2012 - Hello, I have a good portion of Wax Myrtle Seeds. How do I get them Started for planting? Have been told to put several seeds in a Jar lid in a very damp paper-towel & leave them there till they ...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Simsia calva from Albuquerque NM
January 27, 2014 - Hi - I was given some simsia calva seed from the LBJ wildflower center. It doesn't have a lot of info about starting the seeds, so any help is much appreciated! I tried starting some outdoors last ye...
view the full question and answer

Planting a meadow garden in Pennsylvania
November 16, 2014 - I live in Saxonburg PA near Pittsburgh PA. I want to put a meadow garden in my back yard. We are building a home so there is no established yard yet just trees and weeds. Where do I start . What...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center