Properly caring for a holly plant can add a year-round splash of color to your lawn. You probably associate holly with the Christmas season, since its bright red berries and glossy green foliage are often seen in wreaths and decorations. When planted in a yard or container, however, they provide beauty all year. Hundreds of varieties of holly are available, and they range in size from a little over a foot tall to over 50 feet high. The most popular varieties in the United States are used as container plants or hedges and require similar care. Follow these tips to keep your holly plants thriving.
It Takes Two
Holly plants are dioecious, which means that there are male and female plants. In order for your female holly plant to grow the vibrant red berries that it's loved for, you'll need to plant a male holly nearby, preferably within 50 feet. Your local nursery can help you determine which plants are male and female.
Let the Sun Shine
Your holly plants will grow best when grown in full sunlight; aim for at least 6 to 7 hours of exposure per day. Though hollies can tolerate a little shade, you'll find your plants won't bear much fruit if they don't get enough sun.
Food and Water
Holly plants like well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Adding organic compost to your soil before planting your Hollies can help them grow faster and fuller, and applying a slow-release fertilizer once or twice yearly will help your plants reach their fullest potential. Keep the soil moist, since hollies will start looking shabby if they get too dry.
If you want to keep your holly plants looking well-manicured, you'll need to prune them every so often. The best time to prune a holly is in December. During this time, they're in hibernation, and pruning their foliage won't send them into shock. In addition to improving appearance, pruning your holly helps kick start new growth in the spring.