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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - February 08, 2010

From: Shiro, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany
Title: How to determine the gender of wax myrtles from the WFC?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills and Sean Watson

QUESTION:

Mr.Smarty Plants, have the wax myrtles that are up for sale at the Center's Spring Plant sale been sexed? I need a male plant. How can the sex be determined when the plant is young? Or can it?

ANSWER:

I posed this question to Sean Watson, our nursery manager, and received this reply:

The ones the WFC has grown are from seed (all of the 4 inch and one gallon size wax myrtles) and are therefore males and females. The larger 5 gallon size wax myrtles are supplied by other wholesale nurseries and are from cuttings so they are all female. My thinking is that most folks want this plant for a screen or because it is evergreen, and will not mind having some with berries and some without since the berries are not the most significant in terms of size/color.  I hope that answers your question!

Generally, the sex of a plant can't be determined until the plant flowers, which can take several years.

On the bright side, there is evidence to suggest that on some female plants, some male (staminate) flowers do occur among the female (pistilate) flowers so that some pollination can occur in the population in spite of the lack of male plants.

 

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