Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Grancy Grey Beard in Fruit

My Grancy Graybeard (Chionanthus virginicus) was beautiful in flower this past spring, but I never expected such a fruit set! In fact, my other Grancy, even though it is older and larger and has beautiful blooms in spring, has never set any fruit. Now I have discovered the reason.  Grancy Greybeards are dioecious- the sexes are on different plants, where as most flowers have both sex organs in the same flower (monecious). So, naturally, the male plant never produces seed.
 The seed have a two stage dormancy, which means that they require two winter seasons to break dormancy or germinate. Patience is needed to grow a Grancy from seed, or else you can just wait for nature to take its course and keep a check on the ground beneath the tree for some baby plants. In that case it would be better to maintain mulch under the tree than employing the lawn mower. Grancys flower best in the sun, so it will be necessary to either mow or mulch or have some other method of weed control if it is in your yard.
 A second reason you need patience in growing Grancys is that they grow very slowly and you can expect it to take a number of years to reach flowering size from a seed. After the first 3/4 years, I despaired of ever seeing my seed grown plant bloom. I guess it began to bloom when it was 10/12 years old. My male tree was larger when I got it and bloomed pretty quickly. This is the reason most people get a Grancy of some size from a nursery. You may have to pay for all those years when you buy it though.
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