Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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 Shrubs Questions

Different kinds of plants living in subarctic areas
March 10, 2008 - What are the different kinds of plants live in the subarctic areas?
view the full question and answer

Repotting of lemon cypress for drainage
October 26, 2008 - Hi, I bought a lemon cypress tree in a nice tin, It is in Plastic and the bottom has about 1.5" of water with no drainage in the plastic or tin. It will be kept inside. Does the plant need to be in...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for privacy in wet area in Ohio
July 13, 2011 - I am looking for flowering shrubs for Ohio that reach 8-10 feet and can handle wet feet. I am trying to avoid building a wall for privacy and would like to use flowering shrubs instead.
view the full question and answer

Small shrub for Point Richmond CA
August 19, 2013 - I'm looking for a plant that grows 4-6 feet tall, but not too wide (more than 2-3 feet). I'd like it to be flowering (any color but white and preferably not red). It will be located between a salvi...
view the full question and answer

Mountain Laurel not growing in Hallettesville, TX.
September 16, 2012 - Mountain laurel has been planted over 2 years. Well drained,sandy soil, full sun. They have not grown or set blooms despite occasional all purpose fertilizers. What is wrong?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.