The Q&A Archives: No Holly Berries

Question: My hollyberry plants fail to get red berries. I've been told I need both "male" and "female" plants for reproduction. If so, how do I do this and what should I do differently or look for?

Answer: There are several reasons this could happen, but the most common is that you do not have a "fruiting pair"; most hollies require a male and a female plant(s) in fairly close proximity in order for pollination and fruiting to occur. For this reason you will often see named varieties such as "Blue Maid" or "Blue Princess" and "Blue Stallion" sold next to each other at nurseries, with the pollinator sporting a male name. The labeling should also indicate which plants pollinate which. The next most common reason is inappropriate pruning. The berries follow the blooms, so if there are no spring blooms, or if the bloom/immature berries are pruned off, there will be no fruit in the fall.

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