The Q&A Archives: Speed of Holly Growth

Question: I recently purchased 2 holly bushes (females with fruit) and am quite anxious to get them to grow quickly to hide a problem area. How long does it take holly to grow to a height of 6 feet? Is there anything I can do to promote better growth? Should I prune them at all this year? I see new growth already, so I think they like me. I purchased them in 5 gallon containers and they've been in the ground about 1 month.

Answer: It sounds like your hollies are settling in well! Unfortunately, most hollies do not grow very fast and are considered slow growing trees and shrubs. The best thing you can do to promote healthy growth is to ensure that they receive adequate water all through the growing season and right up until the ground freezes. In the fall you might also wish to treat them with an antitranspirant according to the label instructions to help prevent any excess desiccation this winter.

Generally hollies prefer a moist but well-drained and acid soil and a location out of winter wind in order to thrive. You should also be aware that in order to fruit, most female hollies require a specific male pollinator. For example, a "China Girl" requires that a "China Boy" be located somewhere close by in order to set fruit.

Without knowing the variety of holly you purchased, it is difficult to give you much guidance in terms of pruning. Generally the hollies will take some shaping and even shearing quite well, but certainly do not require it. In fact, their natural shapes are usually quite pleasing.

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