Lloyd Gordon

Parasitic Plant Aficionado
Staff member
I've had this compact dwarf apple tree in a pot for 4 years now. This is the third year I've tried Viscum alba and finally I've had 5 seeds achieve penetration and they are still green and alive. It may be 3 years before I see the first leaves.


Lloyd Gordon

Parasitic Plant Aficionado
Staff member
It took 3 years of trying. Out of 50 seeds, only 5 took, and two of them with double haustoria lost one each.


Carnivorous Plant Addict
I want a garage one day. Not for my car but for a place to put even more plants in the winter. I think this the true meaning of a garage.
Don't build a garage, build a shed with a regular door. Cost less than a garage door and can be used as a nice place to overwinter your plant. Plus you don't loose heat from opening the garage door every morning.
I do Viscum album for many years now. Best time is March. The embryo is than at full ripening.

The main problem is that most of the green embryos die because they were kept in the dark for some time, or it was too early to put them on.

They need light the whole time while ripening and waiting for the birds.

More than one or two weeks in the dark can be fatal.

Then you need no shed or garage, they can stand some 20 minus easily. I had in most cases the first two leafs the second spring, though some waited two years or even more.

I think it depends on the climate and the tree they grow on. It takes here in 6b, seven to eight leaf sets until they flower. Each set is another year. With this plant you have just to count the sections, each is a year. Usually they divide at each section.

One time I wanted to be very clever not to rely on the sticky ooze of the berry and used some tape to hold them. Usually I loose a great part to rain and birds.

That year I lost all. They died because of lack of light. I used a non transparent tape in order not to overheat them.

Mistletoe starts best on very young bark. The reason why you see them on thick branches is the age.

I got most of the tricks from a botanist at a Botanical Garden here. He had more than hundred mistletoes on a very small apple outside. If you counted the seedlings, it could have been thousands.
No wonder this appletree was no more when I visited the garden ten years later.

Lloyd Gordon

Parasitic Plant Aficionado
Staff member
We're in 5a or b here. I found the seeds wouldn't grow till the days were sunny and in the teens. I thought they weren't hardy below freezing and that was why they aren't found in England except in the South.
They are actually not dormant seeds but embryos which have actually photosynthesis all the time. They put out the sucker when spring turns into summer or even late summer. First leafs appear when they have established some growth beneath the bark.

I had young plants which lost their first set of leafs. Some made another one the following year. Older ones loosing every green part above the bark came back after one or even more years, from the part beneath the bark. They had usually four or fife sets of leafs at once just above the swollen bark.

England is not too cold for mistletoe in the north, but maybe the days are too short in the winter for the seedlings, or another reason I don’t know (birds?).


The continental climate of Europe, where they grow, has much colder winter than Scotland which is heated by the golf stream.

The species found on apple grows here in some areas on very unlikely trees like Betula (near Berlin), Sorbus, Robinia and some Acer, rarely Oak abundant most places on Tilia, Populus and Salix. Here there are great areas where there are non to be found and I really dont know why.

Lloyd Gordon

Parasitic Plant Aficionado
Staff member
Evil squirrels. Not only did they steal the 3 apples I was growing but they ripped off the most promising of the 4 seedlings (top picture). I can see the swelling underneath but will it be able to produce leaves next year without the photosynthetic seedling on the outside? I guess I'll find out next year.


Carnivorous Plant Addict
If your tree stands by it’s self (so the squirrels can’t jump to it) you could try using this stuff to keep them out of the tree. Side bonus is you wouldn’t have ants farming aphids or caterpillars munching your tree.

My great uncle tried everything to stop the squirrels Grease, metal cones, rat traps, fake owls and spikes nothing worked. It was the joke of the family, what is he up to now!. I have a good feeling about this tanglefoot it’s nasty stuff. One of our dogs rubbed into it on the tree and left a patch of its fur behind.
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If the swelling is bigger than a thumbnail your chances are good. I had one recovering last year, after a period of about a year without any trace of the plant, apart from the swelling.

In my case it was me, while I had to fix a rope around the tree. It slipped and cut off all visible green above the bark.

Sometimes several new shoots appear.