Holly conjure up images of prickly evergreen leaves, red berries and Christmas. There are hundreds of varieties of Hollies. Its principal drawbacks are that it grows rather slowly and is a little difficult to propagate. In male specimens, the flowers are yellowish, in the female flowers are small and white or slightly pink.
Water weekly during drought. Mulch around the base of the Holly to help retain water in the Summer.
Apply fertilizer designed for acid loving plants once every 2 weeks during active growth period only.
Propagation is by grafting in Spring on to seedlings of the common Holly or by cuttings of short side growths taken in Summer and rooted in a propagating frame.
Hollies usually produce male and female flowers on separate plants. It is the female which produces the berries but only after fertilization with pollen from males, so one male bush should be planted for every 6 females and preferably within 13. 5 meters of them. Seedlings may be of either sex and can be identified when they start to flower. The berries do not develop till the next year.
To ensure berry production on a specimen plant choose a self-fertile one such as Ilex Aquifolium ''Pyramidalis''.
All Hollies are completely hardy, they grow in deep rather rich soil, loam soils and will thrive in sun or shade. Most make excellent hedge shrubs if planted 60 cms apart and then be pruned to shape in late Spring. In colder climates with windy winters, plant Hollies in sheltered areas to prevent leaf damage. Protect these plants by spraying in Autumn and Winter with an antidesiccant.
Less than 2 percent of the insects in the world are harmful. Most are beneficial.