The Holly – Part II

Deck The Halls! by Caro Wallis

This is the second post in a two-post series on Hollies.  You can read the first post here.

Holly requires a moist but well drained moderately fertile, humus rich and slightly acid soil. They will grow in sun or part shade but for best berry production, most compact growth and for the best leaf color in the variegated hollies, holly want a sunny spot. Most hollies are either male or female. So when buying, check to see if you need both to set fruit.  See here. You can try starting holly from seeds but germination may take 2 or 3 years.

When choosing Ilex plants your choice is large because there are more than 400 species from low shrubs to tall trees. If you wish to see one of the finest collections of hollies in the country, with about 350 species of hollies, visit the Swarthmore College’s Scott Arboretum’s James R. Frorer Holly Collection in Swarthmore, PA Call to see if they are taking a group tour that you can join so that you can ask questions about hollies. If not, you can walk in the Holly Collection by yourself.

If you are interested in joining The Holly Society of America, check out this site.

My favorite holly nurseries seem to be in England. I wonder if holly is more popular in England than in the US. One of my favorite on- line English holly nursery sites is this. They say that they “grow a very wide range of hollies to meet the needs of all, from important historical gardens to the smallest back yard.” But because of the high cost of shipping, I don’t know if they ship anywhere. One can always contact them to ask.

A few American holly nurseries are listed below:

Evergreen Plant Nursery

Fair Weather Gardens

Wave Crest Nursery

A website that I believe is wholesale, is this. Check to see if they will sell retail. Even if the don’t, check out their site for the information they give such as the best holly cultivars for Eastern US.


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