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Past Articles Library | Trees | Plant Profile-Holly


A holly plant is great addition to any landscape design.  But before you go and buy a holly consider the following tips.

  1. Hollies can be either deciduous or evergreen and have a growth shape of either a tree or shrub.  The evergreen variety is not as hardy in cold regions but it can be pruned into a shrub shape.
  2. Common names beyond the term “holly” include yaupon, inkberry, and winterberry.
  3. If you are looking for a 4-season “holly” consider an evergreen variety.  This type of holly will provide texture and color through their emerald green leaves and crimson berries.  In the spring, the shiny new leaves will add a new dimension to your landscape.   During the summer, the holly will bloom and in the fall the crimson berries will reappear.
  4. Hollies are dioecious or require a male and female plant to reproduce.  As far as landscaping, this means to get the decorative berries one must have more than one plant in their yard.
  5. Hollies can grow to be 6 to 40 feet in both height and width, depending on the variety.
  6. Hollies like an acidic soil environment.

When it comes to planting a holly, one must consider not only the height and width of the mature plant but also the berries.  Many porch coverings, cars and even sidewalks have been damaged from falling berries and bird waste.  To prevent this, one must plan the location of their holly carefully.


Also prior to digging the hole, mark out with grass paint or powdered milk the mature size of the plant.  This will help you adjust your placement so that you avoid planting your holly to close to a building, sidewalk or road.

If planting more than one holly, make sure to space them out accordingly.  Depending on the variety, this spacing can range from 5 to 25 feet.

After you have chosen the correct holly variety and decided where to place your plant, it is time to dig the hole.  The size of the hole is very important.  It needs to be the same depth as the root ball but 2 to 3 times wider than the root ball.

Once the hole has been dug, remove the plant from its container and place in the hole.  Fill the hole half way and water in.  Adding water at this point will push out any air bubbles.  After the water has disappeared in the hole, continue to add soil until the hole is filled.  Water in again.

Top the soil layer with compost and spread out to the plants dripline.  Add a 2-inch layer of mulch to the compost, making sure not to touch the trunk.  Repeat this process every spring.

While hollies do not require pruning, they will need trimming up to encourage berry development.

If you are looking for an easy growing plant that will add winter interest to your landscape, look no farther than the holly.



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