The Q&A Archives: Male Chinese Hollies

Question: I was wondering what specifically the names were of male chinese hollies. Forgive me, I don't know much about this topic. I was hoping to pollinate the Nellie Steven's Hollies I planted. Could you tell me what might work?
Also I was wondering what males might work with Foster Hollies and Greenleaf Hollies for berry production. I greatly appreciate your time if you would answer these questions for me.
Thanks, John North

Answer: The Nellie Stevens often fruits adequately without a male, this is one of the reasons it has been so popular. Most of the named cultivars of Chinese holly (Ilex cornuta) are female, so you could simply use a male plant of the straight species if you feel your Nellie Stevens is not fruiting heavily enough on its own. The Foster hollies are numbered, with Foster's #4 being a male selection. Ilex opaca "Greenleaf" could be planted with any male American holly (Ilex opaca), including the straight species. When you purchase a holly, you should find that it is offered along with suitable pollen source. The main criterion is that they need to bloom at the same time. Your local nursery should have a selection of male hollies available in the spring. And, if you live in a neighborhood where many hollies are growing already, you may not need to plant your own male trees. I hope this helps.

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