Grow Your Own Mistletoe

Wednesday, 21. November 2018

Grow Your Own Mistletoe

Mistletoe branches are especially in demand at Christmastime. Here are a few tips for growing this plant at home.

Mistletoe is an interesting plant. It blooms when other trees have no leaves and the white berries ripen in late autumn.

Mistletoe branches are especially in demand around Christmas when they are used to decorate front doors, gables and balconies and are used for Christmas wreaths.

Cultural History

Today most people know Mistletoe from American and English Christmas movies, where people kiss under a sprig of Mistletoe.

In Europe, mistletoe also has a long cultural history. Mistletoe has great significance in Germanic mythology. Loki killed the god Balder with Mistletoe, as Mistletoe was the only living thing that had not sworn to protect him. After Balder's death, Ragnarok, the end of the gods and a great battle, begins.

Botany

The plant depends on a host plant to survive. The plant receives water and various nutrients from its host plants.

Mistletoe is widespread throughout the world in temperate, subtropical and tropical zones. Depending on the classification, there are between 400 and 1400 mistletoe species native to Europe, Africa and North Asia.

Cultivation

Mistletoe is spread by birds that eat the berries and spread the sticky seeds, either directly or indirectly.

You can also grow mistletoe yourself! Simply squeeze the ripe, sticky seeds out of the berries onto a branch fork that ideally has lichen growing on it. The following trees are particularly suitable for use:

  • Apple trees
  • Alders
  • Hornbeams
  • Linden trees
  • Poplars

After one to two years, you can see a slight curvature at the point where you applied the seeds. It will, however, take a few more years for the mistletoe to grow. It's worth the wait when the mistletoe begins to grow!

Please Note: branches bearing Mistletoe tend to be very brittle. In addition, host trees slow their growth and reduce their fruit yields. Keep that in mind when you choose the tree you want to cultivate the Mistletoe from.