The Q&A Archives: Growing Holly

Question: I am interested in planting a holly. What kind of soil and exposure to sun do they require? Are the berries harmful to pets?

Answer: The American Holly, (Ilex opaca), grow to about 30' high at maturity and prefer full sunshine to part shade, and protection from winds. They need a well-draining soil that is slightly acidic, so incorporate some peatmoss before planting, and mulch with a layer of peat. Water once a week until the plant becomes established (usually about a year), and then it will get along with natural rainfall. The berries can be toxic if eaten in quantity, but they are not considered poisonous, nor are they considered edible. You'll need a male and a female plant for berries to be produced on the female.

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