The Q&A Archives: Pale Green Leaves on Holly

Question: Five years ago I planted 48 Nellie Stevens hollies. All sre doing fine except one. The leaves were thin & a pale green instead of a dark green like the rest. I have seen no trace of insects or diease. I have fertilized & watered with no results. Any idea what could cause this?

Answer: Most Blue Hollies have new foliage that emerges as a bronzed light green, quickly maturing to a dark waxy blue-green and persisting for about three years on the stems. 'China Boy' and 'China Girl', however, have kelly green foliage and chartreuse stems so my first concern is that the holly in question is not Nellie Stevens. The only other thing that might affect the leaf color is the acidity of the soil where that one holly is planted. Test the soil, or have it tested, to make sure it is acidic (5.8 to 6.2 is ideal for hollies). Wish I had other suggestions but without being able to closely examine the plant, I'm at a loss to suggest any other possible causes. Best wishes with your hollies!

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