The Q&A Archives: Variegated English Holly that has not flowered

Question: I have had a Monrovia variegated english holly for approx. 6 yrs. After not having the correct male to pollinate or a few years, I finally purchased a male that I am told will definately pollinate the variety that I have. Unfortunately, neither shrub flowered this season at all, and I can't figure out why. Do you know? Thanks,

Answer: There are several possible reasons why English hollies might fail to bloom for you. One is winter hardiness; these shrubs are considered hardy to zone 6 and your zip code places you in zone 6A -- the coldest part of zone 6. Depending on the microclimate where they are planted, it might be as cold as zone 5. Excessive cold can prevent blooming by damaging the flower buds during the winter. Another cause can be pruning at the wrong time; these bloom on wood that grew the year before, so pruning can remove the flower buds. Yet another possibility would be drought or other cultural factors having stressed or weakened the plant and caused it to either fail to set buds or to abort the buds. I hope this helps you trouble shoot.

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