The Q&A Archives: Dwarf Burford Holly Pollination

Question: I live in Cleveland, Ohio. I purchased "The Royal Family" (llex x meservae): a male "Blue Prince" Holly Plant united with a female "Blue Princess" Holly plant. They were united together in one pot when I purchased them from the nursery a week ago. I planted them in the ground. My first question is: Today, I just purchased a female Dwarf Burford Holly plant (llex cornuta). If I plant the Dwarf Burford Holly plant within a few feet of the Royal Family, can the male "Blue Prince" pollinate the female Dwarf Burford Holly Plant next summer so that the Dwarf Burford Holly Plant will bear red berries?
My Second Question: Does the "Blue Prince" Holly plant pollinate female holly plants EVERY year, or does the female holly plant only need to get pollinated once in a lifetime by the male holly plant?

Answer: Let's answer the easy part of your question first. Each year the flowers that your female holly produces need to be pollinated by the male in order to produce berries. If no male is near, the plant will flower but the blossoms will fall off instead of developing berries. Each year each new flower must be pollinated in order to produce fruit.

Since you have both a male and female Blue Prince, you'll have a reliable crop of berries each year. Ilex kornuta 'Burfordii', your Burford Holly, is self-fertile and does not require pollination for fruit set. In fact, this holly has a reputation for setting a heavy crop of fruit yer after year.

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