Blue holly invokes images of winter landscapes and holidays. Its blue-green leaves and bright red berries are a classic symbol of the cold season and often bring color to barren winter gardens. Blue holly berries are a critical food source for birds and small mammals during the shortages of migrations and winter months. This evergreen is relatively low-maintenance and is easy to plant and fertilize. Mature shrubs can reach 8 feet tall and spread.
Plant your blue holly in partial shade where it will receive less than six hours of sunlight a day. Blue holly grows well in slightly acidic, well-draining soils on southern or eastern exposures.
Loosen the top 6 inches of soil with a hand tiller or rake. Remove any large sticks or stones and break up clumps of soil.
Mix in 50 percent compost or well-rotted manure with original soil. This provides essential soil nutrients and naturally fertilizes your new plant.
Dig a hole as deep as the container and twice as wide, using a shovel.
Place your blue holly in the hole and spread the roots wide without bending them.
Backfill the hole with soil and leave the top of the root ball exposed. This ensures water reaches the newly planted roots.
Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the base of your bush to retain soil moisture and prevent the growth of weeds. Hollies prefer hardwood bark mulches.
Water your holly immediately after planting, fully saturating the ground. Continue to water your plant once to twice per week, allowing the top 3 inches of soil to dry in between watering.
Fertilize once in early spring with a slow-release formula specially made for acid-loving plants. Avoid fertilizing late in the growing season as this will not give new growth a chance to harden off before winter.