The Q&A Archives: Holly Propagation

Question: I brought back some holly branches from Richmond,Virginia a couple of weeks ago and placed them in water. I wonder if I would be successful in rooting them in water or if I could plant the berries? Don't know if the berries are really seeds or not. The leaves on the branches are now dried and falling.

Answer: Holly can be propagated by cuttings, but the ends of the cut branches should be dusted with rooting hormone and planted in moistened potting soil. If the leaves are falling off the branches you've set in water, it may be too late to try to root the cuttings. The leaves are necessary to manufacture energy through the process of photosynthesis. You can try to cut the cut end, dip it in rooting hormone and then plant it, but be prepared for failure - it may be too late for these cuttings.

Ilex (holly) will grow from seed, but the gender of the plant will be unknown and without both a male and female plant, you won't get berries. Plant the seeds in containers and put them outdoors over the winter. The seeds will need a pre-germination chill and outdoors is the best place for them to get what they need. If the seeds are viable they should sprout in the spring.

Good luck with your holly propagation!

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