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Home => Gardening => Trees and Shrubs => How to Grow Holly
Related Articles: Tips for Transplanting Trees and Shrubs | Winter Resistant Plants and Shrubs

How to Grow Holly
by Marilyn Pokorney

Holly is a beautiful plant which can be grown almost anywhere except Australia and Antarctica. Most holly varieties are evergreen and have red berries which attract birds, squirrels and deer in the wintertime.

Select your holly carefully. Hollies range in size from 6 inches to 70 feet tall. While many aren't hardy to USDA zones below 5 or 6 there are hollies that will survive in colder climates. Protect hollies from cold drying winds in the northern zones.

The holly which everyone is familiar with at Christmas time is the English holly (ilex aquifolium). This variety is only hardy to zone 6.

In order to produce berries female holly plants need a male plant growing within 30 to 40 feet away.

Hollies like full sun, well drained organic acidic soil.

Hollies need to be pruned to produce a plant with lots of leaves. They can be shaped to almost any geometrical design. Just prune back the tips of the current seasons growth any time after late summer throughout autumn and winter.

Mulch holly to keep it weed free.

Hollies don't like to be transplanted. Buy small plants and plant them in their permanent position. If transplanting an established plant remove it very carefully with a large root ball in late winter or early spring.

Protect holly plants from rabbits.

Hollies with few berries could be experiencing problems of poor pollination, high nitrogen in the soil, and damage to blossoms from spring frosts.

Finally, you may need numerous individual plants so you don't hack the poor things to death every Christmas.

Also, if you plan to use your pruned holly branches indoors for Christmas decoration, be sure to plant several holly plants in order to not take too much from any one plant. For more information on holly growing care visit:

Marilyn Pokorney is a freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the environment. She also loves crafts, gardening, and reading. Website:

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