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?

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
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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - August 20, 2012

From: Newport News, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Pollinators, Planting, Shrubs
Title: Looking for a male Southern Wax Myrtle in Newport News, VA.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We are looking to add more southern wax Myrtles to make a hedge row with them. We already have one in the ground that is a female. I have called around to see if anyone sells the male but i keep getting the same answer of they did not know there was a difference. The last person I talked to asked if i knew how far apart do the male and female needs to be to pollinate. Would you know the answer to that question cause I can't seem to find anything online about it.

ANSWER:

Southern Wax Myrtle Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) is a handsome plant that we often recommend to people who are interested in growing a hedge. It is also known as Myrica cerifera . It is an evergreen plant that is dioecious; male (staminate) flowers and female (pistillate) flowers occur on separate plants.
Since you know that you have a female plant, Mr. Smarty Plants is assuming that it has produced fruit (berries) which means that there is a male tree in the vicinity that supplied some pollen for this to occur. You might want to explore the neighborhood to see where it is.

Since much of the nursery stock is propagated by cuttings, you are more likely to come home with a female plant. The Southern Wax Myrtle is wind pollinated, so the proximity of the male and female plants is probably not a big issue. We have been getting dust from the Sahara Desert in Austin, TX this summer.

This article from University of Florida indicates the possibility of monoecius female plants occasionally having male catkins that can pollinate the female flowers. This could be an explanation for how your plant got pollinated. If this is the case, your new plants could be pollinated from the same source. The article has nice photos so you can look for male catkins on your plant next spring.(more catkins)

I’m including a link to a previous answer that explains a similar situation with persimmons.

This last link to northscaping.com has tips for preventing transplant shock in your new plant.

 

From the Image Gallery


Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

More Shrubs Questions

Sunny and shady lawns from Austin
April 28, 2012 - My front yard has a large bed surrounded by a mix of St. Augustine and Bermuda grass. Last summers heat killed off about 90% of the St. Augustine, which we would like to replace anyway to conserve re...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a shrub in San Marcos, TX
May 20, 2013 - On a walk in Austin's Barton Creek greenbelt, a Treefolks volunteer identified a shrub that I also have on my property in San Marcos as blue candalia. However I can't find a plant by that name via w...
view the full question and answer

Philadelphus ernestii under live oak in Pflugerville TX
April 05, 2010 - Will Philadelphus ernestii thrive in the root zone of live oak, or would the oak inhibit its growth? I'd like to plant it just at the edge of the canopy.
view the full question and answer

Plants for pool area in Kentucky
June 12, 2010 - We live in central Kentucky and have a backyard pool that desperately needs some landscaping. I would like plants that don't drop a lot of leaves or "trash". I'd like a list of great poolside pl...
view the full question and answer

Plants for full-sun landscape
November 20, 2007 - I live in a very rocky area just outside of Fort Worth, TX. It's taken me all spring, summer & now I'm going into the fall, to landscape just 30 feet in front of my house. The front of the house get...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center