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
1 rating

Sunday - January 31, 2010

From: Marble Falls, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Propagation of Possumhaw Holly from berries in Marble Falls, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Any suggestions for getting a Possumhaw Holly to grow from the red berries?


From the Propagation Section of our webpage on Ilex decidua (possumhaw):


Description: Seeds germinate best if planted immediately after collection. They may be pretreated with double-stratification but the essential element seems to be time. Once internal conditions in the seed are right (it may take years), it will germinate in warm moist conditions.
Seed Treatment: Some benefit may be obtained from 30-60 days treatment at 68-86 degrees followed by 60-90 days of 41 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes"

Extracted from a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on propagating the genus Ilex with some more detail:

"Jill Nokes in How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (University of Texas Press, 2001) gives three possible ways to propagate the native hollies—Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) and Ilex decidua (possumhaw)—by seeds, by cuttings, or by transplantation. Her instructions for germinating from seed warn that germination for the hollies can be slow. One recommendation is to plant the seeds outside as soon as the ripe berries are collected. This exposes them first the warmer days of fall and then the colder days of winter to accomplish germination. You could plant them in pots outdoors and then transfer to the ground once they have germinated. Alternatively, the seeds can benefit from being stratified at 68-86° F. for 30-60 days and then 60-90 days of cold (41° F) moist storage before being planted under 1/4-1/2 inch of soil. Since the seed coats tend to be hard, soaking in concentrated sulfuric acid for a short time (an activity best carried out under a fumehood) should make the coats more permeable to water and easier to germinate. Nicking the seed coats is another way to make them more permeable."

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Ilex decidua

Ilex decidua

Ilex decidua

Ilex decidua




More Propagation Questions

Why is non-native peach tree not going dormant in Owensville IN
December 19, 2011 - I have a peach tree I grew from a peach pit. It is about 2 years old. I planted the tree in my yard this summer. It is now about 3' tall. My problem is it is not going dormant. We have had several fr...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Cornus sericea by sprouts in Maryland
November 21, 2008 - I would like to transplant suckers of a red-twig dogwood (Cornus sericea). When is the best time to do it (before or during dormancy)? How big of a root system does each sucker need to survive? Where ...
view the full question and answer

Removing competition of mustang grapes from live oaks
January 26, 2006 - We have several native mustang grape vines on our rural property that seem to be taking over the live oaks on which they are becoming entwined. Is it advisable to remove them or are they harmless? And...
view the full question and answer

Reversion of maroon bluebonnets back to blue
March 01, 2007 - In the fall, I bought a flat of Texas bluebonnets. They are blooming now, and it turns out they are actually maroon bluebonnets! Which is really too bad, because I want blue bluebonnets. Do you know i...
view the full question and answer

Do pecans and bluebonnets only bloom every other year from New Braunfels TX
November 03, 2010 - Is it true that bluebonnets only seed every other year? I know we see bluebonnets every year, so this is quite a mystery to us. Also, is it the same with pecan trees?
view the full question and answer

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