The Q&A Archives: Starting Holly From Seed

Question: I have serveral holly plants, I would like to know how to start more plants from seed or berries.

Answer: If you have both male and female plants, the berries will contain viable seeds. You can start new plants from the seeds in the following manner: pick or collect ripe fruit and remove the pulp surrounding the seeds. You can rub them on a screen under running water to expedite the process. It's not necessary to dry the seeds unless you plan to store them. Holly seeds need time to mature before they're ready to sprout. In nature germination is commonly delayed for 16 to 36 months. You can artificially induce germination by alternate treatments of cold and warmth. Begin with a 60 day treatment of warmth (day temperatures of 86F and night temperatures of 68F), followed by 60 days at 41F (the refrigerator works well for this treatment). At the end of this pretreatment period sow the seeds 1/8" deep in moistened growing medium. Seeds should germinate within 300 days. If this sounds too labor intensive, you might just sow the seeds in pots of soil and place them in the garden. They should sprout within 3 years.

Good luck with your holly!

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