Sexing plants?

dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)June 11, 2012

I bought an Aucuba Gold Dust and a skimmia this spring and now I realize I need both sexes to get good berries. Is there any way I can find out what sex these two plants are? the aucuba had red berries when I bought it, the skimmia was in flower.

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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Dotty, I think the only way to tell the difference is when they're flowering, flower shapes and/or sizes are different.

Annette

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 9:39AM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Well, we know the acuba is female -- it had berries!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 11:19PM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

Thanks for the info. I hoped putting SEX in the subject line might spice up this forum, it's not nearly as lively as it was a year or two ago.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 2:13PM
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gardengal48

Or if they are labeled :-) Skimmia in particular usually comes with a male or female label as there are not male or female named cultivars. But even without a tag, relatively easy to determine male from female - male flowers are larger and IMO, much more attractive. Aucuba, OTOH, usually comes with a cultivar name and these can be researched for sex. Flowers tend to be pretty inconspicuous with aucubas.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 3:57PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

I have numerous Aucuba seedlings with varying degrees of variegation. I think the males are green. I should look at them closer to see which is which. They root rather easy from cuttings. I usually root the best variegated ones and treat the seedlings as tolerable weeds. Always looking for that exceptional one, of course.
Once established, they handle dry shade very well.
Mike

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 4:17PM
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reg_pnw7(WA 7, sunset 4)

The one with berries has to be female of course.

Flowers can be sexed. Get a hold of a botany text with a diagram of male and female flowers, or look on Wikipedia. Male flowers have anthers with pollen. Female flowers have a stigma, and no anthers. It's pretty simple with a diagram.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 12:30AM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

Confession: I've lost the tag for the skimmia. I'll research it next spring but it was in flower when I bought it and I don't see any berries so likely it is male. The Aucuba"Gold Dust" is growing really well and is a bright, welcome additon to a very shaded breezeway area. I'll buy it a mate. I've got disagreement from my reading about whether the Aucuba is deer resistent. Anyone know?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 12:11PM
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gardengal48

I've got disagreement from my reading about whether the Aucuba is deer resistent. Anyone know?

If you've got disagreement, then you can bet it is NOT deer resistant :-)) My experience living out here in the rural hinterlands, deer can and will eat anything - listed "resistant" or not - at least to taste and the only assurance of true deer resistance is a tall fence. Or a big dog.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 1:53PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

I have over 15 Aucubas and the deer have left them alone...so far. They seem to nibble on some weeds the most. That, and some light nibbling on some of the kousa dogwoods.
Mike

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 7:23PM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

I appreciate the answers. We have a real deer problem here and I am using different ways to discourage them with some success. Totally agree that fence is the best but it isn't possible for our whole property. It's amazing how each year their tastes change! Obviously, they can't read the list of Deerproof plants!!!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 12:38AM
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issafish

Gardengall48, my experience with deer eating Aucuba is different than Mike's. Early this spring I planted two Aucuba and my resident herd of deer ate all the new growth off both plants. Because of this herd, I normally spray Bobbex, a deer repellant, on my plants but because I was busy I forgot to do it thinking that the deer wouldn't eat them anyway. Well they did, and I sprayed the plants with Bobbex after this. Luckily this happened in early spring and the new growth came back without any nibbling by those pesky deer. I have even had these deer eat the new growth on my eucalyptus until I sprayed it with Bobbex.

So if you don't want a fence or a large dog, large dogs can be as destructive as deer to a garden in a different way, try a deer repellent. I know Bobbex works if you follow their instructions. It is sold in both Canada and the USA. Another is Plantskydd. I haven't used it, but many Xmas tree growers use it with success. Both can be found on the Internet.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 10:07AM
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gardengal48

I've seen aucuba munched down to stems only by deer but others in other deer-visited gardens left untouched. I swear deer in different areas have different taste buds!

The remark about the big dog was meant as humor, although my smallish spaniel keeps the deer at bay in my garden. I think he is just too exuberant for the deer to tolerate. Most repellents work pretty well, as long as you reapply as necessary.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 3:07PM
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reg_pnw7(WA 7, sunset 4)

Just because the skimmia doesn't have berries doesn't mean it's male. They're not self fertile. The females won't produce berries without fertilization by a male skimmia.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 10:19AM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

We use a variety of deer deterants from a fully-fenced veggie garden, Plantskyyd spray to an electric fence. Interestingly, we have 3 Northern lights Azaleas. Two of them get browsed, the third which is the most exposed to Bambi is left alone. The electric fence is outside of a couple of perennial beds and it gets respect except once in a while from fawns. They don't do it twice!

Here is a link that might be useful: Deer outside wire

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 12:38PM
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