Q: how do i buy a male & female spicebush?
A: Some years, we have spice bush plants that are mature enough to flower. We need to see the flowers in order to identify the plants as male or female. Check with us in late March to find out if our plants are flowering. A less sure-fire method to get a male and female is to order 3 or more plants and hope for the best.
Q: Once this shrub has been established successfully, can it withstand a hard pruning (either significant pruning or back to the ground) to control its size?
A: Yes it can. We cut a 12 foot spicebush nearly to the ground a few years ago and it looks fine.
Q: How do you tell males from females? I bought one at a native plant sale but did not realize I would need two. Help!
A: You really can't tell unless you see the flowers. Spicebush blooms in the spring, so you should look for the flowers in March. The male flowers will be "showier" because of the fluffy, yellow pollen on the anthers. The female flowers will appear smaller because they don't have the pollen. Instead, the females will have a swollen, green ovary in the center of the 5 petals. The flowers are very small whether male or female, so it can be difficult to tell them apart without seeing both side by side. There are images online that you should look up next year to aid in identification when your plant is blooming.
Spicebush is a host plant for the spicebush swallowtail. These butterflies don't care if the plant is male or female; the foliage seems to do the job either way. Check your plant for caterpillars that are green, plumper at one end, and have eye spots that could mimic a green snake. If you find one, you have found a swallowtail caterpillar.
Q: Do you have to have a male and female spice bush in order to get berries?
A: Yes, you need one of each. Because we grow ours from seeds, we don't know which are males or females. They would need to bloom before we can tell them apart, and our current stock is too young to bloom this year.
Q: If I get two spice bushes can they be male and female ?
A: Ours are grown from seed and are not mature enough to have bloomed this year, so we don't know which are male or female. But technically, yes--they CAN be male and female, we just can't tell you if they are.
Q: Is it advisable to plant a Spice Bush in June/July. I was considering ordering one but want to certain that the plant has a chance to survive before doing so.
A: It should be fine, but we have very good supply this year; you could wait until fall if you want.
Q: Will I be getting mail or female plants?
A: Ours are grown from seed, so we don't know which are male or female. If we cloned them from cuttings, we would know which are which. Hopefully, we'll have some that bloom next spring so we can determine which are which.
Q: Is there any way to tell prior to purchase if the plant is m or f? Is there a way to ensure a pair?
A: At this point, there is no way to tell. They have been grown from seed and never bloomed, which is how we would tell m & f.
Q: Are these in a pots that i can use as a host plant for my spicebush swallowtail cats. And are the free of any pesticides sprays of any kind
A: They are in pots and can be safely used as host plants for your caterpillars when they have foliage.