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Mr. Smarty Plants - Propagation of Possumhaw Holly from berries in Marble Falls, TX

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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

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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

"Propagation

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

 

 

 

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