Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

We came from here:

Muddy, I didn't know that Serviceberries needed a pollinator? I thought they were self pollinating?

So a little trivia for you all. The pics below are of a tree that I'd love to have but no longer have room for since I already have plenty of trees. There is one at Longwood Gardens and I'm pretty sure it's a state champion tree. See if you can guess what it is.

Thumbnail by Sequoiadendron4 Thumbnail by Sequoiadendron4 Thumbnail by Sequoiadendron4
Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Well, for starters,I don't think it is a Sequoiadendron- just looked at a page of amazing images of those. And do you actually have a Sequoia planted there?
Do you realize how hard it is for me to type Sequoia correctly? LOL

easy trivia- name a tree whose names contains all the vowels used once......

This message was edited Aug 11, 2014 8:46 AM

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Pooh, I'm no good at tree id - some kind of conifer LOL??? Hmmm, also can't think of ANY tree that contains all the vowels used once. I WONDER what could it be... Sequoia do you have any idea? Oh boy, I just crack myself up.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Haha you goof Sally. That would have been too easy if it was a Sequoia! I'll give you a hint though, it doesn't use the letter 'i' but it does have the other 4 vowels. It is native to he Pacific NW but it's more of a neighbor to a Sequoia Sempervirens than a Giganteum.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

While we ponder the mystery- Jeff, the first round of pink ROS cuttings look sad. I'll keep trying!

Any future interest in white Butterfly Bush? One of my several seedlings is blooming, it's white. Now I wonder if they are all from the neighbor's nearby white one. But if so, beware some seedlings. I'll keep the blooming biggest one- time to replace a failing purple one- and watch the others if there may be a future WANT of one.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Stinker Sally! Oh well, keep trying and see how it goes :) No interest from me on a BB but they are pretty in others' yards.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Is the mystery tree a Calocedrus decurrens? That is what my friend Google suggested when I searched for Longwood Gardens State Champion Trees : - )

About Serviceberries: my understanding is that solo trees don't fruit very well.

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

Muddy, I heard that also about Serviceberries.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Ding Ding Ding!!! Muddy is the winner :)

Interesting on Serviceberries. Are they like the Viburnums where you need to get a different cultivar to pollinate or can you just have two of the same variety?

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Sequoia, I'm not sure but I believe it's best to get a different Serviceberry species or cultivar.
Here's some recent discussion on it:

Mine is such a tiny little tree that it won't be producing fruit for a while no matter what.
I'm glad I got a small one because I just read they can get Cedar rust. There are lots of Cedars growing nearby, so I'll find out pretty quickly if it's going to be a problem.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Interesting, it says that you don't need to have two but you get better fruit. I thought that might be the case. It's like that for a lot of species that are self pollinating.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Speaking of pollination and berries: I planted 1 male and 2 female Winterberry cultivars last fall, and so was very surprised to see that all of them produced berries this year. Neighbors have Winterberries, but their male cultivar isn't a pollinator for my females. After some head-scratching, I finally noticed that some brilliant grower apparently did some skillful grafting so that the "male" shrub had mostly female branches. There are only a few berry-less branches on the shrub. I never knew nurseries did that.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I have Burford Hollies- and was told somewhere along the line that they would put both male and females into each pot so every plant they sell would berry. Maybe they grafted though. I really think there is just one trunk at ground level.

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

Muddy, I'd be *very* interested in a male/female-in-one winterberry! Are there cultivars that are sold that way?

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Muddy, I've seen that recently in the nurseries. I think it's atrocious. I know it seems like it's ideal but how far are we going to go in playing Mother Nature? I like my males and females separate :)

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

LOL Sequoia!
It could be that the pot contained both a male and a female, but I didn't notice 2 trunks. I'll have to take a closer look.

It might be an affront to Mother Nature, but I'm glad I have 3 fruiting Winterberries. It'll look much nicer, and there will be more berries for the birds.

SSG, I've never heard of Winterberries that were deliberately sold that way, which is why I was so surprised. I would have thought there would be a big tag letting people know they were getting a two-fer!

This message was edited Aug 14, 2014 9:40 PM

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Much of the general population doesn't know that some plants come as male or female, and that you need one of each to get berry/fruit production. TMI for many.

Salem Cnty, NJ(Zone 7b)

That's called monoecious if I remember correctly, right?

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Monoecoius if both genders structured in a individual plant, dioecious if genders on separate plants. My guess is that even in this plant-focused group many are not conversant with the terms, let alone the public at large.

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

I went to the garden center yesterday to buy some pine bark, but left with... a lot more than pine bark!

I got Clethra 'Ruby Spice.' Does anyone have any experience with this cultivar? It apparently likes wet soil and blooms in the shade. Do you think it would tolerate being pruned? I'm trying to squeeze it in a tight spot.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I know the natural species one from the edge of wet woodlands. It's crowded there but finds it way to bits of light. I don't know why it would not take some sort of control.

Thinking of new plants in terms of "that one will get berries, this one wont' has always seemed a deterrent to me in trying a new species.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

SSG, I planted one of those at my FIL's house this spring and it's doing nicely. It's in a part shade situation and mainly just gets water as mother nature intends but we've had a wet summer. I think it's important with that plant to give it plenty of water to establish but afterward it should be good on its own. I don't see why it couldn't be trimmed to suit, probably fall or spring would be fine. I'm pretty sure it blooms on new wood. Remember that these break dormancy very late in spring so don't think it's dead next year.

I don't care really if I need one or two plants to get berries, it's all the same to me. In fact, if a plant is dioecious, that just means I 'have' to buy two :)

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

I have a Clethra 'Hummingbird', which has white flowers and stays small. It is in the wettest part of my yard and is in probably part shade with morning sun. Mine is circa 2' x 2' and I won't have to prune it no matter how big it gets, so I haven't looked into whether it can be pruned.

'Hummingbird' is a dwarf cultivar that apparently stays smaller than 'Ruby Spice'.
I could easily fit in a larger cultivar if you decide you want to swap!

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

I got Ruby Spice specifically for the pink blooms! White flowers tend to get lost with my white fencing. I may have to transplant 3-4 perennials to make room for this one.

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

I seem to have heard that the current President of the Holly Society of America hangs around these forums - but I may be wrong. He could probably tell you chapter-and-verse what you are experiencing in your Winterberry Holly plant purchases, and blow up any rampant misconceptions while also animatedly advocating for all things Ilex.

A trip to the HSA Annual Meeting might be in your future - and not far away at Rutgers, NJ on Oct. 22-25, 2014. See here:

As far as Amelanchier goes - you are kidding yourself if you only plant one clonal variety.

Bring questions like these over to Trees/Shrubs/Conifers, and benefit from a wealth of experience and advice to raise the bar on your woody plant wisdom.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Congratulations, VV, and thanks for the offer to tell me what's going on with my Ilex to save me from getting on my knees to count the trunks, and for offering your match-making advice for my Amelanchier! I'll take you up on that.

SSG, I forgot about your white fence. I'm sure it could be pruned if you don't want to move things around. I avoid pruning shrubs whenever possible because it falls into the work category!

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

LOL Muddy I hear you! I'm all about lazy gardening!

But then why am I getting ready to transplant half of my perennials...? _(ツ)_/

Boohoo on the lack of frankenstein winterberry.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

But then why am I getting ready to transplant half of my perennials...? _(ツ)_/ (ssg)

Because digging and planting is so much darn fun. And you never know exactly how they will perform until you grow them yourself in that exact spot.

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

The subject of pollination in the genus Ilex really rates its own thread, but I'll lend what I know to the discussion here insofar as Winterberry Holly is concerned.

I have grown many clones of this species myself here at the Valley - 28 and counting - and I have observed flowering and fruiting behaviors of Ilex verticillata since being introduced to the species in the mid 1980s. I have had the extreme good fortune to have joined the HSA and its Great Rivers Chapter in the late 1980s as well, and had the opportunity to learn from giants in the society - the likes of Theodore Klein, Bob Simpson, Bon Hartline, Elwin Orton, and many more.

It is true that Winterberry Holly is dioecious: pollen-bearing male/staminate flowers occur on separate plants from the female/pistillate flowers from whence are produced fruit. I don't know of any examples or proof of natural plants with flowers of both sexes, or producing perfect flowers.

I also know it is true that plants can be misidentified - by well meaning individuals, competent nursery growers and retailers, and by those bent on telling you what you want to hear while taking your money and trust. I received a long-awaited shipment of fine bare-root specimens of my very first Ilex verticillata 'Goldfinch' from one of the top five nurserymen in this country, with whom I had had a friendship and business relationship for 15 years (and still do to this day). Imagine my surprise and chagrin two growing seasons later when these purportedly yellow-fruited 'Goldfinch' Winterberry Holly set a handsome heavy crop of large lustrous bright RED fruit.

Turns out mistakes can occur everywhere and anywhere, and today those healthy vigorous plants are properly labeled as 'Stoplight', and I got 'Goldfinch' the next year.

So, imperative to answering a question here or anywhere else is knowledge of what you have. Evidence of fruit on a plant is evidence that you have had female flowers pollinated. Lack of fruit on a plant means that it is either a male-flowered plant OR a female-flowered plant that was not pollinated.

If you did not observe whether flowers were male or female on plant parts currently lacking fruit, I'll contend you don't know anything for now. I would venture to believe that no one knows all the plants in their neighborhood that could potentially interact with plants in their personal landscapes.

If you know what the plants you purchased were identified as, that is a starting point. If you purchased what was identified as a male clone - which subsequently has borne fruit - then you clearly had at least a partially misidentified plant.

There certainly has been a practice by some growers to plant male rooted cuttings with female rooted cuttings - either in container culture or in field growing operations. This ensures that some proper pollination is possible early in the conjoined plants' lives. This does not provide a guarantee that one or the other parts of the plant will live and grow successfully. It doesn't warranty that the ultimate owner of the plant understands the situation, and might prune out that rascally branch "that never produces any fruit". It doesn't create satisfaction for that individual that needs to have every plant they own be perfectly symmetrical and pristine - down to uniformity of form, leaf color, fruit distribution, and personal hygiene.

While my tongue may have been firmly lodged in cheek during some of this epistle, I am staunchly serious in advancing knowledge about plants and their cultivation. That's why I participate in and serve with plant societies and other groups both locally and nationally. To this end, I participate here.

Please post images of the plants you have questions about. In this instance - as I noted above - I think it merits its own thread with a pertinent title. This information has a long shelf life, and the easier it is to transfer to others now and for posterity, the longer we have to spend out in our gardens - or enjoying wine and chocolates.

**Male flowers on Ilex verticillata 'Johnny Come Lately'

**Female flowers on Ilex verticillata 'Winter Red'

**A lot of pictures of fruit on Ilex verticillata 'Winter Red'

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Excellent write up VV! I think you've just inspired me to get another winterberry or two :)

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

What should I plant under/in front of my roses? It's a dry area that only gets rainwater.

I have May Night salvias that are not doing well in the spot. They get about 4 hours of intense midday sun, which I guess isn't enough for salvias. The ones I transplanted now get 6+ hours and are doing much better.

Shade plants burn in the sun, and sun plants aren't happy with 4 hours.

I was thinking hostas, perhaps. Some do surprisingly well with hot sun. Every heuchera that I have gets crispy edges if they get midday sun, unless they get extra water.

Astilbes? Oops meant to say Achillea!

This message was edited Aug 18, 2014 11:22 AM

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

will astilbe stay short enough?
I guess you're looking perennial only from your suggestions so far.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

What about daylilies?

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

The roses are leggy (the bottom part gets more shade, so only the top half blooms), so I'm looking for something bushy, kind of like short cultivars of astilbes? achillea. I don't think daylilies stay compact enough or are bushy enough for what I'm looking for.

I like dianthus, but I don't think it's sunny enough in that spot.

This message was edited Aug 18, 2014 11:23 AM

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

4 hours of sun should be good enough for dianthus to prosper. What about geraniums (perennial)?

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

Are there geraniums that get bushy enough to hide bare rose legs?

I'm looking for something like this:

This message was edited Aug 18, 2014 11:28 AM

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Check out this

Do you prune your roses at all? Maybe doing that would make for a bushier bottom half and you wouldn't need as tall of a cover plant.

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

Oh yes, they get a good hair cut every spring. They just get leggy in the shade because the top is sunnier (shade from neighbor's house and trees).

I have Bevan's Variety, but it's not quite tall enough for what I'm looking for. I was looking at 2 feet.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Ok, I'll have do do some thinking on that one.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

The 6 pots I sent with you for happy are the Big-Root geraniums.
The same oned jeff just posted above.

If you haven't passed them on yet to happy--there is a HB full of one big clump.
The one in the grocery bag--I think...keep that one.
Happy will still get 5 pots.

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