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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - October 27, 2008

From: Kansas City, KS
Region: Midwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Assuring berries on Viburnum dentatum
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I just purchased 2 blue muffin viburnum bushes-I live in Kansas-How many years will it be before they get berries? They are full size(3-4 ft) Do I need to trim them down for winter or just mulch them good-also, I only have these 2 viburnums-Do I need a different kind for them to get berries?

ANSWER:

This question came up fairly recently, with the same cultivar, 'Blue Muffin', of Viburnum dentatum (southern arrowwood) as the ones you have just obtained. Here is a quotation from a previous answer. 

"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."

The tricky thing is that Viburnum are monoecious, meaning that there are both male and female flowers on each bush. But, because when you buy two bushes of a single cultivar, they are both clones, you need at least one Viburnum of a different cultivar (although it will still be a clone, just not of the same cultivar) in order to get berries.

Since the 'Blue Muffin" cultivar is apparently a smaller version of Viburnum dentatum, it sounds as though it is already big enough to begin flowering in the spring, followed by berries IF you have obtained another sub-species or cultivar and it is pollinating at the same time.The Viburnum is hardy from USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 8, and Kansas City, in Northeastern Kansas, appears to be Zone 5b, you shouldn't worry too much about pruning in the winter, but mulch is always a good idea, protecting the roots from both heat and cold, and helping to keep moisture in the soil. 

Pictures of Viburnum dentatum, including 'Blue Muffin' with berries


Viburnum dentatum

Viburnum dentatum

Viburnum dentatum

 


 

More Propagation Questions

Propagation of century plants from "pups"
August 10, 2007 - I have two small century plants...about 10 inches tall...they are "pups" from an older one. one of them has three or four very small roots and the other looks like it was pulled up out of the ground...
view the full question and answer

Propagating Quercus agrifolia (Coast Live Oak)
November 08, 2013 - I am a gardener for the city of San Francisco. I am just curious about the best way to prepare an acorn from Quercus agrifolia for planting. I have heard many ideas about using sandpaper and microwavi...
view the full question and answer

Looking for seeds of Collinsia verna (Mary Blue eyes)
March 27, 2009 - Dear Friends, I am desperately trying to locate (for purchase) seeds for the wildflower "Mary Blue Eyes" or "Spring blue-eyed Mary" (botanical name Collinsia Verna.) Internet searches for see...
view the full question and answer

Growth process of plants
November 01, 2007 - How does a plant grow?
view the full question and answer

Propagating a Magnolia tree from a twig cutting in New Hampshire.
November 02, 2011 - I have a twig cutting from a rare magnolia tree I found on a farm in central New Hampshire. The tree seems to be at least one hundred years old. It was in full bloom in late August and I was told by t...
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