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
2 ratings

Thursday - January 13, 2011

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Shrubs, Trees
Title: At what age does Possumhaw (Ilex decidua) begin to flower in Pflugerville, TX?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


At what age does a female possumhaw (Ilex decidua) usually bloom and set fruit? Or is there a way to identify the female other than by the presence of berries? I grew a number from seed and want to plant the females where they can show off. The seedlings are a couple of years old now.


Germinating your own Possumhaw seeds is a real do-it-yourself project. Congratulations! As you realize, Ilex decidua (Possumhaw) is a dioecious species that has "male" and "female" flowers on separate plants. I prefer the terms staminate for the "male" flowers and pistillate for the "female" flowers, but some of my colleagues don't. You also realiize that your seedlings are most likely a mixture of staminate and pistillate plants. It would be quite unusual if this were not the case, but you won't be able to tell the difference between the two until they begin to flower. You will to need to have a few staminate plants around to pollinate the pistillate plants so you can get those beautiful red berries that you are waiting for.

I sent a note to Sean Watson, our Nursery Manager, and this is his reply;
"I would think Possumhaw seedlings could flower in as little as two years, but could take 3-5 years depending on growing conditions."

So it looks like you still have some waiting time before you know which is which. Keep taking care of the plants, and good luck with your project.


Ilex decidua

Ilex decidua



More Propagation Questions

Will my Lisianthus survive the winter in Minnesota for another growing season?
March 09, 2009 - Do you know if Lisianthus plants planted one year, will come back the next year? We bought 6 gorgeous healthy plants last summer from a MN grower. We enjoyed them all last Summer and are wondering if ...
view the full question and answer

Twist-leaf Yucca flowering in Burnet County, TX.
June 16, 2015 - I recently moved to Burnet County and our property is full of twist leaf yuccas which are now blooming, but not all are blooming. Why do some twist leaf yuccas bloom and others don't? Are they m...
view the full question and answer

Taking a cutting from Niagara grape in Warfordsburg PA
April 27, 2010 - How do I take a cutting from a Niagara grape plant, and then re-plant that cutting?
view the full question and answer

Grafting Pecan Trees
July 05, 2013 - I have planted two pecan nuts and now they are about 4 feet tall trees, they have not been grafted but can I graft one of the trees to the other and vice versa and expect pecans from then, they are he...
view the full question and answer

Invasive native blackeyed susans from Warren OH
August 07, 2013 - In our demo garden we master gardeners in NE Ohio have been unable to get rid of black-eyed susans which have, like the other person, prevented or "killed" the other perennial plants. They are spre...
view the full question and answer

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