Blue hollies are exciting broadleaved evergreens that can be grown quite successfully in our climate. Glossy dark blue-green leaves provide a beautiful background for the bright red berries that ripen in fall and hold on throughout the winter. Hollies have male & female varieties. Only the female plant produces the berries. The male is necessary as a pollen source. So when planting your holly planting make sure you have at least one male planted in the vicinity of any number of females to ensure an abundant show of red berries.
Hollies are versatile enough to grow in both sunny and shady conditions. Hollies prefer moist, well-drained soils that have a low pH (acidic) nature. If the planting site is open and exposed, protect hollies in the winter by building a tent of burlap around the plant. This covering will protect the holly from cold winter winds and the drying effect of the winter sun.
Site preparation is the most import aspect of having success with hollies. Prepare the planting site by mixing one part peat moss to two parts soil (approximately one cubic foot of peat moss per plant). Dig a hole slightly larger than the plant container. Carefully lift the holly plant out of the plastic nursery container and place it in the hole so that the top of the root ball is just below ground level. Backfill the soil and tamp down carefully. Water liberally once with a liquid transplanter solution 5-15-5, such as “Parkwood Transplanter.”
Care and Maintenance
Hollies prefer acidic soil so a yearly application of soil acidifier in early spring is beneficial. Use a soil-acidifying product with elemental sulphur. Follow the instructions on the container to ensure that the proper pH level is obtained for optimal growth. Pruning hollies yearly will keep them full and attractive. Trim any branch tips that show winter damage in early spring.