The Genus Ilex includes many different species, cultivars and hybrids that have been selected over the years because of their immense popularity. Not only are there many kinds of Holly, but the mature size and overall form is just as varied. Some are broadleaved evergreens that hold those green shiny leaves all winter long. Many times, cut branches from the evergreen types are the ones used to decorate for the holidays and winter arrangements because of that great foliage and berries. Some are deciduous which means the leaves fall off in fall and the naked branches hold the berries for a wildly showy berry displays in the landscape or the cut branches are used for holiday or winter arrangements and window boxes. The most desirable selections seem to be the ones with the showiest fruit displays.
The broadleaved evergreen Hollies have beautiful shiny green color and the red berries really stand out against that nice dark green color and they just scream Christmas. The smaller selections are excellent foundation plants great near front entrances and high profile locations, and the larger selections are used for screening, hedges. Branches from these smaller plants are also used in winter arrangements and for cut branches for decoration. The American Holly plants (the species being the largest plants in the Genus) best used in groups so the male plants can pollinate the female plants (which are the ones that have the showy berries). They are also commonly used singly as specimen plants whether they set fruit or not. Even the plants without fruit are highly ornamental and the plants grow pyramidal and are so elegant in the landscape. These larger tree form selections can be maintained smaller with pruning if so desired, but we are a firm believer because of the large number of varied sized available it might be better to pick a size that works best in the spot you are planting so you don’t have to waste time pruning them.
Holly plants are very adaptable. They are a bit slow to establish initially, but once established they grow moderately fast. The better soils are obviously better for the plants. The wintergreen Holly do not like wet soils. The deciduous (the leaves fall off in fall) plants can tolerate wet soils. Watch for exposure with evergreen Hollies in the colder climates so they don’t winter burn. In cold climates, where they are exposed to drying winter winds they can winter burn. Planting them with protection from the winter winds (east side of a building or windbreak) will prevent burning off of the leaves. Some people like to use an anti-transpirant to prevent any winter burn.
Evergreen Hollies prefer sun during the growing season to remain thick and lush. They can tolerate some shade but in deep shade, the plants will thin out. The deciduous Holly plants tolerate sun or shade.
Mulching is better than trying to amend the soils and helps keep the weeds down and maintain a better moisture level. Fertilizer or root stimulators at the start might not be a bad idea to help establish the plants sooner. Fertilize lightly with a balance fertilizer only as needed. Do not fertilize your Holly plants with lawn fertilizer as it contains too much nitrogen. Note pruning suggestions as noted above. Formal or informal, Holly plants are elegant, showy, and very desirable and you should include them in your landscape for added year round interest.
Hollies are Popularly Used as Dense Sheared Formal Hedges
Nature Hills Nursery offers many evergreen selections of Holly in many forms and sizes. Our nurseries grow many types because they are so desirable in the landscape. Beautiful pointed, serrate, and oak leaf types of foliage that stay on the evergreen varieties year-round. These elegant plants can be used for screening and sheared formal hedges with the added bonus of cheerful fruit. Most of these plants have sharp pointed leaves that can be sharp so be careful.
Fruit on a Female Holly Shrub
Wreath Made of Holly
Remember there are two different types of Holly plants, the evergreen types, and the deciduous types (the ones that lose their leaves in winter). Most of the Holly plants have separate male plants and female plants, and only the female plants will produce the berries. The berries are very showy, and on most of the varieties produce red fruits, but some are blue, black, yellow, or white. The fruit production makes the plants very desirable and attractive to wildlife and people or children. Cut branches are many times used indoors for holiday and winter decorations. Holly branches are perfect indoors for people with allergies as they do not contain dust, pollen or fragrances. Once indoors, the berries may dry and fall off which may make them available to children or pets to find and sample.
Nature Hills offers many evergreen selections of Holly in many forms and sizes. Our nurseries grow many types because they are so desirable in the landscape. Beautiful pointed, serrate, and oak leaf types of foliage that stays on the plant year-round. These elegant plants can be used for screening and sheared formal hedges with bonus of that cheerful fruit. Most of these plants have sharp pointed leaves that can be sharp so be careful. Continue reading