The Q&A Archives: Losing Bushes After 2yr.establishment

Question: I have tried to grow dwarf japanese heller hollies for foundation planting.The first set lived into the 2nd summer and even through the drout with watering and after all that died. I planted more and the same thing happened. I planted some daylillies in the same bed and they are doing great. What's wrong? Why are the daylillies OK?

Answer: Japanese holly does best in zones 6 and 7, resenting extremes of both cold and heat. It is specific in its requirements and needs a light, moist yet well drained soil that has an acidic pH. Without having seen the plants it is difficult to say why they died, but the drought could be a big contributing factor especially since they were not yet fully established (this can actually take three years for trees and shrubs) and if any of the above criteria were not well met. Daylilies on the other hand are much easier to grow well, tolerating a wide range of soil conditions and other cultural situations. They prefer a good, moist yet well drained soil with ample water but will tolerate almost any spot as long as they have partial to full sun.

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