En Español

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 graft muscadines?
June 07, 2013 - I have tried for the last two years, grafting my perfect muscadines to the native non-bearing vines. I have tried every method available to no avail. I usually get two or three leaves, then wilt and...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting and grafting pecan in Granbury TX
May 18, 2010 - I found several native pecans on my property this spring. Apparently they grew from nuts buried by squirrels. I put small protective fences around them and plan to dig and move them (bare root) next...
view the full question and answer

Rhizobium inoculant for Leucaena and othr leguminous tree seedlings
January 02, 2007 - What sort of Rhizobium inoculant would be appropriate for Leucaena and other leguminous tree seedlings?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of possumhaw from Austin
May 22, 2014 - I planted a possumhaw holly plant about 3 months ago and am really excited to watch it grow from its current 3-foot height. It is starting to berry right now. My question is about those berries: (Cle...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of non-native Selenicereus Antonyanus from Warwick RI
March 24, 2012 - I just purchased a Selenicereus Anthonyanus, Rick Rack Cactus unrooted. I have searched on the web of the proper way to root the plant and have had no luck except it says easy rooting but not how to r...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center