There’s nothing quite like a bright sprig of holly to spread the holiday cheer. Those glossy green leaves and red gum drop berries are a must-have when it comes to seasonal gardening. Most people pick up a wreath at the garden center around now, but if you’ve got a green thumb, you know growing it yourself is the way to go. Though it’s a little late in the game to plant your own for this holiday season, it’s never too soon to prepare for the next one! With our tips, it won’t be long before you’ll be decking out the house with holly from your own yard.
1. Choose the right kind.
There are more than 400 holly species out there! They come in both evergreen and deciduous types, and can grow between 6 and 40 feet tall and wide! The botanical name for the holly plant is Ilex.The typical ‘Christmas’ variety is technically English holly (Ilex aquifolium). It has crimson berries and deep green, shiny, prickly leaves. Going for something a little less ordinary? Try a Japanese holly. These plants are known to live more than 75 years if properly cared for! If you want to put a little distance between yourself and the neighbors, try Chinese holly. Its foliage is extra-thick and grows into a natural fence of sorts. Want to add a splash of color to the garden? Try Blue holly, with its purple stems and blue-green leaves. And don’t forget those red berries! The birds go nuts for them.
2. Decide when & where.
The best time to plant a holly bush is in fall or spring.
Holly grows in most all climate zones. When determining the location for planting, choose a spot with acidic, moist, well-drained soil. Make sure the area receives lots of sunlight. Holly spreads far and wide, so plant away from your house, the sidewalk, the driveway, telephone poles, etc.