Blue Maid Holly - Knowledgebase Question

Name: Tom Whitehead
Fairhaven, MA
Question by tgw007
July 25, 1999
I recently bought a blue maid holly to plant near my house. The information on the pot said it grows 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. I planted it two feet from my house, which has a concrete foundation. I heard that planting evergreen shrubs and other kinds of acid-loving plants near a concrete foundation would turn their leaves yellow and kill them. Is this true should I replant it? Is there anything I could do? Also, does the Blue Maid holly need to be pollinated? If so by which plant?


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Answer from NGA
July 25, 1999

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In some cases concrete foundations have been known to leach lime into the nearby soil and thereby raise the pH to the point that acid loving plants have been distressed and show it by yellowing. In many cases however, azaleas, rhododendrons and hollies grow quite nicely next to concrete foundations, walks and patios! The best thing to do is to test your soil to verify where the pH is, and maintain it in the acid range as needed. Often an annual application of a fertilizer formulated for acid loving plants is adequate.

Blue Maid is one of the Meserve group of hollies which all have the word Blue in their names. Blue Stallion or Blue Prince, for example, would serve as a pollinator. The supplier for your holly should also stock appropriate pollinators, or there may already be a nearby pollinator in say a neighbor's yard.

Incidentally, according to Michael Dirr's "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants" the mature Blue Maid holly takes on an approximately pyramidal form of between 8 to 10 (possibly 15 feet) tall and about 6 to 8 feet wide, so I suspect the label was giving you the anticipated landscape size in about five years.

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