The Q&A Archives: Holly Berries

Question: I have eight Blue Girl Hollies, all planted within 50 feet of one another. They have been planted for 4 years, one year they produced some berries that were a dark, brownish red. I have not checked to see if any are males, but I would expect there wouldbe at least one. I read the following response you gave someone else. Could there be anything else going on? I did prune them the past two years, shearing them somewhat like a hedge. Could this be a problem? Can any variety serve as a male plant?<br>

Answer: The answer you looked up is probably your problem also. You probably don't have a male in a near enough vicinity to pollinate the females. If you did, after four years, you would probably have berries. You could have a problem with a reduced population of pollinators (bees, wasps, etc.) but more than likely it is simply that you don't have a male. You will need to look either for a "Blue Stallion" or a "Blue Prince". There are certain accepted pollinators and these are the two for your "Blue Girl". You should have one male for every ten females in a 300 to 400 ft. range. The Ilex x meservae "Blue Princess" naturally grows in a somewhat untamed fashion and it is just about always better to let shrubs, plants,and trees grow in a way they do naturally. When we try to conform them, sometimes they rebel. The shearing you gave them probably did not cause your lack of berries, but it may result in the holly not growing as well as you would like. If you need a source for a pollinator plant please let us know.

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