Plant Profile: Hollies

Plant Profile: Hollies

Hollies are very versatile plants that can range anywhere from only a foot high, to trees that are 70 feet tall. In ancient times, hollies were used to decorate statues of Saturn (the Roman god of the harvest), to providing medieval protection from evil spirits, and of course decorating our houses at Christmas time with them.

In South Eastern Pennsylvania where our company is located, hollies will have no problem growing. They are most hardy in regions 5 and 6, and in Southeast Pennsylvania we are zone 6. Zone 5 would be the Lehigh County and above.

Gender Of The Holly

On the left, is a female holly which produces berries. On the right is a male holly that flowers, but does not produce berries.

When you think of hollies, you think of the bright white flowers, red berries, and the shiny prickly leaves. The gender of the holly actually plays a big role in the appearance of the plant. Female hollies will produce berries, while the male hollies will not. Hollies are unique in the fact that they have two separate genders, otherwise known as dioecious. Most trees and shrubs that we’re familiar with are monoecious, which means they are both male and female.

Holly Maintenance

These plants do not require regular pruning or trimming, but if you want to keep them small, or to prevent them from overcrowding, pruning is going to be required. Holly bushes are very low maintenance as well, and typically do not need to be watered unless we are in a dry spell.

We always recommend mulch for our clients for a variety of reasons, and Hollies are no exception. Mulch not only helps prevent plants and shrubs from the freeze thaw cycle, but once it decomposes it adds tons of nutrients back into the soil, eliminating or reducing the amount of fertilizer needed. We suggest using mulch from a supplier that does not use artificial dyes or chemicals. At our company, we only use naturally died mulch.

Mary Neil Holly

How To Plant Hollies

The holly bush you purchase is most likely going to be in a pot. The size of the pot should not matter, but most likely it’s going to be in a three gallon pot. Find the spot you wish to have your holly planted, and make sure it has adequate sunlight and good drainage. All good landscapes start with knowing what your plants need.

  1. Dig a hole in the ground that is about 3 inches wider than the diameter of the holly. Do not dig the hole too deep; allow the holly to sit about one or two inches above the soil line.
  2. Remove the holly from the container and using a shovel or spade, slice about 3 or four inserts into the root ball. Don’t cut the ball in half, just about one or two inches deep. This will prevent the roots from wrapping in a circle and choking itself out. Cutting these inserts will let the ball branch out into the garden.
  3. Back fill the holly. (Fill in the space around the plant)
  4. Sprinkle compost or manure around the bush to help with water retention.
  5. Water.
  6. Add mulch around the base.

Are you thinking of updating your home’s landscaping and are looking for the best landscaping service in Doylestown? Reach out to us today and we can transform the way your property looks! Click here to visit our contacts page

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