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 Shrubs Questions

Powdery mildew hits Rock Rose in Round Rock Texas
May 05, 2011 - My beautiful Rock Roses have gotten spots of white fuzzy "fur" on their leaves in the past month. This is not something they have ever had before and I'm worried its some kind of disease. Is it so...
view the full question and answer

Advice about lavender (Lavandula sp.)
June 03, 2008 - I recently visited a Lavender Farm just outside Gainseville Texas. I was hooked. However, when I started reading about growing Lavender I found that you should have well drained alkaline soil. Since...
view the full question and answer

Chickasaw Plum suckering potential in Washington DC area
May 11, 2015 - I have planted some chickasaw plums around the border of my property. My property is surrounded by a wooded area, which then opens into a golfcourse. Is there a chance that my chickasaw plums would...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for sandy soil and not much water
April 14, 2008 - I am planning a new garden at home and would like to grow native plants that can handle sandy soil and don't need much water. I do not water my gardens.I would prefer plants that can have more than o...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs with berries for birds and growing small red oak tree
September 16, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Recently, I saw a short article about attracting birds to one's yard. The article said to plant "berry-bearing" shrubs, but didn't name any specific shrubs. Could you tell...
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