Q: Is the picture of the berries displayed here taken by you in your nursery, or did you find it online? I am asking because sources that i had bought bittersweet from showed american, but sent me oriental.
A: This is our picture. All of the photos on our website are ours; we don't pirate images from the internet.
Q: It says buy 5 American Bittersweet to ensure male/female combination. Is there a way to ensure that with buying only 2-3 plants?
A: At this point, no. Our plants are about a year old, grown from seed. We can't determine male/female until we've seen them bloom. There is a slim chance that a few of them will bloom this year in May or June, but that is unlikely.
Q: Are you certain that you are selling American bittersweet? With the flowers developing at the end of the stem and not along?
A: We are certain. The flowers are in terminal clusters, the fruits have orange valves.
Oriental bittersweet (C. orbiculatus) has axillary flower clusters and yellow valves on the fruits. We grow our plants from seed we harvest and would find it difficult to mistake the two species with each other; the fruits are noticeably different.
Q: I've had 2 vines growing for the past few years ( bought 2 at a local sale in St Louis) and they have never produced fruit. Is it safe to assume that I have only female plants? They bloom with the small yellow flowers, but that's it. If I bought more plants, how could I identify a male plant to ensure fruit development?
A: At this point, we still don't have any sexed plants. So, buying more plants would still be a gamble. You would need to contact a statistician to determine your best course for the immediate future. However, the flowers should be white; if you're seeing yellow, you're probably noting the pollen. This would indicate you have male plants. Here is a link to better photos: http://www.friendsofthewildflowergarden.org/pages/plants/bittersweet.html
Q: What does this look like in the spring and summer?
A: In the wild, it isn't especially noticeable during spring and summer. It is a vine with light green, alternate leaves. In late summer/early fall, the berries begin to form in spherical, pale orange pods.
Q: What is the best time to plant bittersweet and will it bloom the first year?
A: You can plant it anytime. Spring or fall would be ideal. It will likely take at least two years before there are very many blooms. The tiny flowers will be sparse on young vines and may go unnoticed.
Q: What is the best time of yaer to plant American bittersweet?
A: They don't seem too particular. Spring or Fall would probably be best.
Q: Will this vine climb a dead tree, or does it need trained? How close must they be planted to each other for pollination to occur? I cleared a 100' fenceline, leaving some tree "stumps" about 20' tall and plan to plant the set of 5 at the bases of these stumps.
A: It can climb a dead tree on its own, but training it will likely produce better results. It doesn't climb with tendrils, so will need something it can wrap itself around. They are mostly pollinated by native bees; it seems reasonable that a 20 foot spacing would be close enough for pollination, but I haven't come across anything that declares a maximum spacing.
Q: How close do the plants need to be, male and female?
A: I'm not sure. I'd bet plants within 50 feet of each other would manage to get the job done. You might be able to find more info by researching the distance bittersweet pollinators will travel in their search for pollen; from illinoiswildflowers.info: The flowers attract Halictid, plasterer (Colletes spp.), Andrenid, and mason bees, which suck nectar and collect pollen. Other occasional visitors of the flowers include ants and wasps (which suck nectar), and beetles (which probably feed on pollen).
Q: how will i receive the plant? is it in a pot? How big would the pot be? if i buy two will i be guaranteed a male and a female?
A: The plant will be sent via UPS. It will be in a pot measuring 2.5" x 3.5". We do not guarantee a male and a female.