The Q&A Archives: Mold on Holly Bush

Question: Last winter we purchased a female holly bush which has been kept indoors, though we intend to plant it outdoors soon. Recently, we discovered a white sticky substance on some of the leaves, which we believe to be mold. It has been damp here recently. How can I get the mold off the leaves? Will this stop the problem?

Answer: Hollies (Ilex) are subject to a wide variety of foliar problems. While it is possible that yours is suffering from mildew, based on your description I can't give you a definite identification of the problem. You might wish to take a sample to the Cape May County Extension for a positive diagnosis and recommended control(s), if any. Their phone number is 465-5115.

You might also wish to ask them for a definite identification of your plant. Many of the potted hollies sold during the holidays are actually Holly Osmanthus or False-holly (Osmanthus heterophyllus). In any case, since your plant has been indoors all this time, you will need to acclimate it gradually to being outside in the sun, wind and weather before you plant it. You might start by setting it outside in a sheltered, shady spot and gradually move it into more light over a period of several weeks. Good luck with your plant!

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