Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Fragrant foundation plants for sunny, dry area in Illinois
August 26, 2009 - We need suggestions of what to plant on the south side of our house heave sun and rather dry soil. We just took out old dead bushes. Would prefer something that flowers and smells nice that would gr...
view the full question and answer

Webworm on Texas Mountain Laurel in Texas
September 02, 2015 - I thought my mountain laurel had web worms and I sprayed for them. Now the plant looks like it still has the worms even though none are present. Also, I sprayed with a fungicide because some of the ...
view the full question and answer

Replacing Drought-Stricken Cedars
January 16, 2012 - Hello, I live in Williamson County on a couple acres. We have several dead cedars as a result of drought; we're reluctant to cut them down because many of them provide a friendly barrier between us...
view the full question and answer

Identity of shrub with brownish flowers called cinnamon bush
April 25, 2012 - When I lived in Vernon, CT, my neighbor had a small shrub/tree approximately 5 ft tall with small ovate slightly serrated leaves. In spring it produced reddish brown flowers that were of a hardened p...
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant plants for privacy from Larchmont NY
April 19, 2014 - Love your site! We have a 4'x4'x50' stone wall, full sun, with a planting bed 30"H by 24"D. We're looking for privacy, so a hedge with pruning is needed. We have looked at Ilex Crenata (8'),...
view the full question and answer

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