Thursday 8 December 2011


Click here for the 'Seeds of Eaden' seed shop

I love Christmas, and mistletoe provides an opportunity to have a snog (as if I need an excuse!).  Mistletoe can be quite hard to find, and often all that is available is some yellowing bunch of leaves with no berries or a ugly plastic version.  But don’t despair, you can ensure you always have am ample supple of mistletoe every year if you grow your own mistletoe.

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that requires a host plant on which to feed.  These are most associated with apple trees, and you can often see bunches of mistletoe growing on this host plant. Mistletoe requires both male and female plants to produce berries.

Mistletoe can be grown easily from seed. You will need to select a host plant onto which to grow the mistletoe.  Mistletoe grows well on trees in excess of fifteen years old on varieties such as apple, poplars, lime, false acacia and hawthorn.

Propagate mistletoe from existing plants in March/April, when the seed is ripe.  Only select intact berries Alternatively, you can purchase dried seed which you will need to soak in water for a few hours.  The seed is encased in sticky flesh known as viscin, so squeeze the seed out of the berry. 

You will need to plant up approximately twenty seeds to grow a selection of male and female plants. Select a branch on the host tree which exceeds 10cm girth. Either plant the seeds direct into a crook on the branch or cut shallow flap and insert the seeds under the bark and secure with hessian and string. 

Keep watered and protect from birds by hanging old CDS.  The seeds will germinate quickly to produce a shoot which will make contact with host plant. When this shoot has made contact with the hosts vascular system a new plant will appear in early spring. 

Plants can take up to five years to produce berries if male and female plants are present.  You can attach more seeds to the mistletoe plant if required.

For related articles click onto:
Brussels sprouts
Christmas cake
Christmas mince pies
Christmas puddings
Growing Christmas trees
How to grow mistletoe from seed
How to keep your cut Christmas tree
How to take a stem cutting
Poinsettia care
What is a tree?
What is Boxing day?
What is Christmas?
What is mistletoe?

Why do we kiss under the mistletoe?
What is Myrhh?
Spiced brussels sprouts

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