How to Grow Holly Shrubs - Plant Care & Tips

By NorwichGardener Team   /   2024

Holly shrubs is a plant that is found in many parts of the United States. The plant is known for its glossy green leaves and red berries. The plant is often used as an ornamental plant in landscaping.

How to Grow Holly Shrubs - Plant Care & Tips

Alternative name

  • Christmas holly
  • American holly
  • European holly
  • Winterberry holly
  • Yaupon holly

Basic info

  • Holly shrubs can grow to be quite large, so make sure you have enough space in your yard before planting one.
  • They are evergreen, so they will provide year-round interest in your landscape.
  • Holly shrubs can be either deciduous or evergreen, depending on the species.
  • They are known for their shiny, dark green leaves and bright red berries.
  • Holly shrubs prefer full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil.
  • They are relatively low-maintenance plants and are fairly drought-tolerant once established.
  • Holly shrubs can be susceptible to pests and diseases, so be sure to check for these before purchasing a plant.
  • Some species of holly are poisonous to humans and animals, so take care when handling these plants.
  • Holly shrubs make excellent privacy screens or hedges.
  • Most holly shrubs are cold-hardy and can tolerate winter weather conditions.

Related plant:
Blue Maid Holly Shrub

Growing Steps

  1. For holly shrubs, first step is to choose a well-drained planting site. Shrubs need fertile, moist, but well-drained soil to grow their best.
  2. If you have prepared the planting site ahead of time, dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball.
  3. Set the holly shrub in the planting hole so that the top of the root ball is even with the surrounding soil.
  4. Backfill the hole with soil, tamping it down as you go to remove any air pockets.
  5. Water the shrub deeply immediately after planting.
  6. To encourage new growth, cut back the holly shrub by one-third its height.
  7. Fertilize the shrub in early spring with a balanced fertilizer.
  8. Water the shrub regularly during the growing season, keeping the soil moist but not soggy.
  9. Prune the holly shrub in late winter or early spring to shape it and remove any damaged or diseased branches.
  10. Enjoy your beautiful holly shrub!

Related plant:
Oregon Grape Holly

Soil Condition

About soil condition, holly shrubs prefer rich, well-drained soil, but they will tolerate poorer soils as long as they are not waterlogged. They are not fussy about pH, but they do prefer a slightly acidic to neutral soil. If you are planting in heavy clay soil, it is best to improve the drainage by adding organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure.

Light requirement

So, like the other plants, holly shrubs need sun to grow healthy and strong. The amount of sun each holly shrub needs depends on the variety, but most need at least four hours of sunlight each day to thrive. If you are considering planting holly shrubs in your garden, be sure to choose a spot that gets plenty of sunshine.

Good Temperature

The temperature condition that is best for holly shrubs is one that is moderate. They do not like it to be too hot or too cold. They need some sunlight, but not too much. They also need some water, but not too much.

Humidity Requirement

Ideal humidity condition for this plant is 50%. The plant will suffer if the humidity drops below 30% for an extended period of time. If the humidity is too high, the leaves of the plant will turn brown and drop off.

The Fertilizer

Discussing fertilizer, usually the plant food is applied to the holly shrub's roots. The Holly shrub fertilizer that is best, depends on the age and size of the holly shrub. For a newer holly shrub, use a fertilizer with a lower nitrogen content. For older holly shrubs, use a fertilizer that has a higher nitrogen content.

About light

Pruning is an important part of keeping your holly shrub healthy and looking its best. Holly shrubs can be pruned in late winter or early spring. The best time to prune your holly shrub is just before new growth begins. When pruning, be sure to remove any dead or diseased branches first. Next, remove any branches that are growing in the wrong direction or are rubbing against other branches. Finally, trim back any long or straggly branches.

About Propagating

Propagation is typically done through rooting stem cuttings, which is a fairly simple process. Cuttings should be taken from new growth that is still soft, and they should be about six inches long. The bottom of the cutting should be cut at an angle, just below a leaf node. The cutting should then be placed in a light potting mix and kept moist. Rooting hormone can be used to encourage root growth. Once the cutting has rooted, it can be transplanted into a larger pot or into the ground.

Growth Speed

Usually, the plant growth rate is very slow, taking several years to reach their full potential size. However, some species of holly, such as the American holly (Ilex opaca), can grow quite rapidly, gaining up to 2 feet in height each year. The size and growth rate of a holly shrub will vary depending on the species and the growing conditions.

The Problems

Common problems for this kind of plant are powdery mildew, rust, and scale. These can all be controlled with the proper application of fungicides and insecticides. However, if the problem is left unchecked, it can eventually kill the plant.

Tips on Growing

  • If possible, choose a planting site that receives full sun.
  • Prepare the planting site by removing all weeds and grasses, and loosening the soil.
  • Dig a hole that is twice as wide and just as deep as the root ball of the holly shrub.
  • Set the shrub in the hole, and backfill with soil.
  • Water the shrub deeply immediately after planting.
  • Spread a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base of the shrub, but keep it several inches away from the trunk.
  • Holly shrubs should be pruned in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins.
  • Fertilize holly shrubs in early spring, using a balanced fertilizer.
  • Water holly shrubs regularly during the growing season, especially during periods of extended drought.
  • Check holly shrubs regularly for

Similar Plants

  • Holly Shrubs
  • Holly Oak Shrubs
  • Holly Sycamore Shrubs
  • Holly Ash Shrubs
  • Holly Maple Shrubs
  • Holly Cypress Shrubs
  • Holly Pine Shrubs
  • Holly Holly Shrubs
  • Holly Fir Shrubs
  • Holly Elm Shrubs

1732 – Holly – PlantTalk Colorado
Growing holly : University of Illinois Extension
Inkberry Holly | University of Maryland Extension - UMD

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Reviewed & Published by Richelle
Submitted by our contributor
Shrubs Category