Seeing mistletoe in the shops at Christmas reminded me of some mistletoe I grew a few years ago. When I moved from my previous house, the mistletoe had sprouted on an apple tree I had seeded. However, I was not there long enough to see it grow any bigger than a few leaves.
With all of our apple trees, old and new, I thought this year I would give it another go.
It appears the best time to start growing mistletoe is in February, when the berries are at their ripest. Not wanting to spend too much money purchasing fresh berries in February, and having had success with mistletoe bought at Christmas, I thought I would do the same again.
So with my Christmas bought mistletoe, I picked off all the berries.
They look like little white currants, each one contains a very sticky sap like substance.
The sticky substance is important, as this is what helps the seed adhere to the tree. You can see the seed above which appears as a little hard tadpole embryo from within the soft flesh of the berry.
I crush each berry on a branch of an apple tree (mistletoe will only grow on certain trees, one of which is the apple).
Once crushed, I rub the seed around a bit to make sure it sticks to the branch (and not my finger). The outer skin of the berry is not important, so if this fall off it is not an issue.
I then mark the branches that I have seeded with a bit of biodegradable string.
If all goes to plan, later in the spring I could see the signs of mistletoe sprouting.
Mistletoe is slow growing, so it will take a good number of years before I have my own for kissing under.