The Q&A Archives: holly bushes

Question: I want to get some holly trees. I know nothing. I have sandy soil. Do I Need both female and male? I heard that somewhere. What type is best for my area? All info needed.

Answer: Hollies grow best in full sun to part shade, in average, well draining soils (sandy soil is fine for them). It's true, you need both a male and a female holly for the female to produce berries.

Ilex x 'Nellie R. Stevens' is one of the most attractive of all hollies. Vigorous grower with dense branches, it makes an excellent tall screen. Bears abundant, large, bright orange-red berries that add dashes of color to the lustrous, dark evergreen foliage. Creates an impressive statement in the landscape when planted in groups, used as a large background plant or specimen. Male Chinese hollies are useful planted nearby as pollenizers. Full to partial sun. Evergreen. Strong growth 15 to 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide.

If you have a smaller garden, try planting CHINA BOY and CHINA GIRL HOLLY (Ilex x meserveae 'China Boy', 'China Girl') These are compact, upright, rounded shrubs. The leaves are moderate olive green and have 2-3 prominent spines on each side of the leaves. 'China Girl' produces vivid reddish-orange fruit; 'China Boy' serves as the pollinator. Height: 2-3 ft in 8 yrs, 6-7 ft in 20 yrs if not pruned.

Best wishes with your new hollies.

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