En Español

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
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 Pollinators Questions

Failure of tall garden phlox buds to open in St. Louis MO
July 30, 2009 - Why won't the buds of my tall garden phlox open? Plants are apparently healthy, no powdery mildew or visible insects, foliage looks great and buds are profuse but they don't open. I have two clumps ...
view the full question and answer

Pollinators of Bauhinia lunarioides (Anacacho orchid tree)
March 19, 2015 - What are the pollinators of Bauhinia lunarioides? Also, is it a host plant for any butterfly or moth caterpillars?
view the full question and answer

Bee Plants for Victoria Texas
March 09, 2013 - I live in Victoria south Texas and want to plant bee beneficial native wildflowers, could you provide advice or contact
view the full question and answer

Need plants beneficial or attractive to bees in Dripping Springs, TX
January 27, 2014 - Can you provide a specific list of plants beneficial or attractive to honey bees in the Texas Hill Country (we raise bees in Dripping Springs, TX.) Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Butterfly and Pollinator Plants for Indianapolis Garden
June 23, 2015 - I live in Indianapolis, IN and would like to have a native garden. I'd be especially interested in plants that help butterflies and bumble bees. There's a fairly dry area on the west side of the hou...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center