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How to get berries

Hello, long time no post (but still reading yours). When should I prune shrubs & trees so as not to stop them producing berries? And how can I find out which berrying plants need another of opposite sex to ensure berries are produced? I'm thinking sorbus/ rowan? Holly, cotoneaster, lycestera formosa. Thank you.


  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,414

    Hello clk

    Holly needs both sexes the rest don't.

    If you have to prune a rowan do it in winter

    Leycesteria can be cut right back to the base at the end of winter and will still come up and make flowers and berries,

    Holly is traditionally pruned for christmas and doesn't seem to mind that.

    I prune deciduous cotoneaster in winter  and the evergreen ones when I get round to it



    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Hi clk

    As a general rule on pruning berry producing plants, prune them after their berries have finished to give them as long as possible to produce some more.

    So for example Cotoneaster, the berries are being picked off by birds into the winter, so prune in early spring.

    In my experience, sorbus/ rowan, cotoneaster, and lycestera formosa don't need male and female plants, but holly generally does and the varieties in catalogues will often say whether they are male or female.

    For more info see:

  • clkclk Posts: 95

    Thanks so much for those replies. What if my virburnum tinus eve price still has berries when flower buds start to form? Also, I thought male Skimmia Japonica Rubella needed a female or hermaphrodite (on my shopping list I have Nymans, Wakehirst and Reevesiana to get mine to berry). Now I'm wondering how far away one holly has to be from the other (perhaps it's in the page you mentioned Peter - I'll have a look). It's a minefield! But so interesting.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,414

    Viburnum tinus peaks around now but does what it likes when it likes. There are both on mine.

    You didn't mentioned skimmia, I think some of those are male or female but I can't grow those in my very alkaline garden so haven't  investigated.

    Hollies don't need to be that close, within an insect's flying distance. One in the neighbour's garden will do.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • clkclk Posts: 95
    Sorry for the delay (was just watching Sherlock). Thanks nutcutlet, for your help. I will find out if my (young, unlabelled and quite newly planted) holly has a partner somewhere in the area, if it ever has berries.
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,414

    Don't forget to sex yours when it flowers. 

    In the sticks near Peterborough
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