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

Wednesday - September 24, 2008

From: Silver Spring, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Propagation
Title: Follow-up on Viburnum dentatum question
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

This is a follow up to an earlier question, posted Sept 20, about Viburnum dentatum shrubs. I'm not sure I understand your answer. If the person having trouble getting berries went out and bought a Viburnum dentatum from an entirely different nursery several year later, and planted it nearby would they have a chance of avoiding the clone problem? (I have to admit the first question came from me, too!) The first time around I bought five of the cultivar "Blue Muffin." TThis time I'm thinking I should go to a small native plant nursery and look for one that isn't a cultivar. I have more space for another shrub right next to the hedgerow. Would that work? I want the berries because I want to feed birds. Thanks so much for the help.

ANSWER:

In reference to your first question, it does sound like you have a self-incompatibility problem since all your plants were bought at the same time and were the same "Blue Muffin" cultivar. Many plants exhibit self-incompatibility—a genetic trait produced by a gene that creates a chemical barrier when the pollen of a genetically identical plant falls on the carpel (female part). This chemical barrier prohibits the pollen from fertilizing the ovules and there will be no fruit.  V. dentatum plants are commonly propagated vegetatively from cuttings.  If they are propagated from the same stock, such as your cultivar "Blue Muffin" must have been, they are going to be genetically identical—in other words, clones.  So, you do need at least one plant that isn't a clone of your "Blue Muffin" plants to produce pollen that won't be chemically barred from fertilizing your flowers. The University of Connecticut site lists 8 cultivars of V. dentatum, including your "Blue Muffin", so there are other possibilities.  I recommend that you visit our National Suppliers Directory and enter your city to find nurseries in your area that specialize in native plants.  You can visit their websites (if they list one) and/or telephone them to find out what cultivars they carry of V. dentatum.  Just to be on the safe side you might buy two completely different cultivars to plant.
 

More Propagation Questions

How to tell the girls from the boys in wax myrtles (Morella cerifera)
May 14, 2010 - How would I be able to identify whether my wax myrtles are male or female plants? I was given two plants last fall (that came from a family members back yard) and the person who gave them to me didn'...
view the full question and answer

Propagating magnolias from Springtown TX
July 07, 2011 - I am trying to find out how to plant Magnolia tree seeds and what has to be done with them prior to planting, if anything and what type of soil to use.
view the full question and answer

Possibility of growing Buckleys yucca in South Carolina
February 03, 2008 - I live in Lexington, SC. I am wondering if I can grow Buckley's yucca (yucca constricta) here and if so, where can I purchase the seeds or plants? I am from Texas and we are trying to create a "we...
view the full question and answer

Recommended distance between blueberry plants
May 21, 2008 - How far apart do I need to plant blueberry bushes?
view the full question and answer

Source of dollarweed for shady lawn in Hillsboro TX
December 19, 2011 - I live in Hillsboro,Tx - Where can I get Dollar Weed for my shady lawn?
view the full question and answer

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