The Q&A Archives: Malel/Female Bittersweet not flowering

Question: Two years ago I purchased a bittersweet plant that was both male and female. This year, It has grown beatifully, but has not flowered. I have checked the sunlight and gave is slow release fertlizer in the spring. Is it possible that the sex that was grafted died? If so, how can I tell which I have to get the correct partner?

Answer: Although technically male and female, they both actually flower. Only the female will set berries however. The vines bloom in the spring to early summer and the flowers are pale and not very noticeable. The fruits color up and ripen in the fall and then split open to release their seeds. This is the display we notice. Most vines take a few years to settle in and become well rooted and bloom their best, so I would caution you not to give up too soon. Until they do bloom, in any case, you will not be able to tell them apart. In the meantime, they need full direct sun all day for best performance and avoid pruning them as this will remove the fruiting wood once they have bloomed. Finally, do not be tempted to overfertilize them as this can cause excess foliage growth at the expense of blooms. I hope they bloom for you next year.

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