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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.

 

 

 

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