How to Plant Holly Bushes


Authored by Suzanne Alicie in Gardening
Published on 08-08-2009

Holly bushes have been a decor and landscape staple for more than 2000 years. This bush has hundreds of varieties including American, English and Asian holly. Thanks to this great variety you have many options to choose from for your lawn.

Holly looks great trimmed low and planted closely together as a foundation plant or hedge. Holly is also an attractive addition to your landscaping as a large bush that stands out even in the winter. In winter the beautiful evergreen of the holly and the cheerful berries will brighten up the area.

Holly bushes can be grown from seed, but an easier and much more practical method of growing holly is to propagate with rooted cuttings. To do this simply cut one year old branches from a healthy holly bush. The one year part is important because older holly growth has lost the enzymes that the plant will need to root and thrive, and new growth is green and not firmly established wood.

Once you have got the cuttings you wish to root, dip them in a rooting enzyme or willow root booster solution. Then place them in a bed of potting soil mixed with sand and vermiculite. Keep the soil moist for several weeks as the cuttings form roots. Remember that holly is not a fast growing bush and will take at least 12 weeks before it is ready to put in the ground.

When it is time to place your holly in the ground, take a few moments to think about why Holly is known as a Christmas decoration. This is because in parts of the world where it is cold and snowy and soil is inhospitable to growing things, the holly thrives. They prefer an acid soil and do well in cold weather. You are planting a bush that has survived the harshest climates and thrived in many different countries for thousands of years.

If you want those pretty bright berries on your holly bush you will need both male and female plants for cross pollination. Planting several holly bushes such as in a border or hedge should definitely provide you with berries.

Plant holly bushes with the top of the root ball level with the soil, and add compost and mulch to retain moisture and fertilize the bush. Once the holly bush is established it is a pretty care-free plant other than pruning and shaping.

Depending on the species of holly that you choose your bush may remain small and tight, or it could grow tall and wide. Discussing your plans for the holly with someone who is familiar with different varieties and habits will help you avoid getting the opposite effect of what you want from your holly bush.

You can trim your holly before the holidays for natural home made wreaths and decorations. Holly is also a nice addition to vases and flower arrangements all year round. A word of caution to parents -holly berries can cause nausea and vomiting, as well as a severe tummy ache. Be sure to emphasize that these berries are just for looking at.


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