The Q&A Archives: Rooting Holly Leaves

Question: I would like to start a holly tree from cuttings that possible. I want lots of berries on it. I have a tree already, but there are no berries on it. I took some cuttings from a tree full of berries...can it be done?

Answer: According to Micahel Dirr's "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants" holly (Ilex opaca) can be rooted from cuttings taken in December. You need a cutting from the tip of a branch about six inches long. You should wound or rough up the base of the stem, dip it in rooting hormone and set it in a rooting soil mixture of peat moss and perlite which is then placed under mist and provided with bottom heat so that the soil temperature is at 75 degrees. (At home you might try tenting clear plastic over top of the pot to maintain humidity rather than misting and set the pot in a warm bright location out of direct sun.) The cutting should be rooted in about six weeks.

Most hollies require both a male and female plant for fruit set, so the reason your holly has no berries may be related to that issue. Some types tend to set more berries than others, and some types tend to fruit more heavily when they are older and better established. Finally, some years are just better than others for fruit set, so you may have several factors at work when it comes to fruiting performance.

Good luck with your project!

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