How to Grow Holly Shrubs


Choose the healthiest and tallest holly shrubs when making your purchase, because these shrubs tend to be slow growers. Depending on the species, shrubs may produce yellow, red or black berries. However, if you do not plant both male and female shrubs your holly will not produce any berries. Both sexes are required for pollination. Holly shrubs should be labeled by gender. If they are not, ask for assistance at the garden center. There are some self-pollinating varieties available, yet it may take a bit of searching to locate them.

Step 1

Plan to plant your holly shrubs in the fall, winter or early spring.

Step 2

Choose a permanent planting site for your holly shrubs because they do not transplant well. Ideal planting locations will receive partial or semi-shade and have well-draining soil.

Step 3

Read the planting instructions that come with the shrubs you purchase. Holly shrubs are generally spaced 5 feet apart; however, each variety can have its own spacing requirements.

Step 4

Dig planting holes that are 6 to 8 inches deeper than the root balls or containers, and three times the diameter of the root balls or original containers.

Step 5

Put the shrubs into the holes and refill with soil.

Step 6

Water liberally. Plan to water the shrubs during dry spells during the spring and summer.

Step 7

Fertilize holly shrubs annually in the late spring. Fertilizers that are low in nitrogen work best.

Step 8

Prune shrubs in late spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Male and female holly bushes or self-pollinating holly bushes
  • Shovel
  • Low-nitrogen fertilizer


  • University of Arkansas: Hollies

Who Can Help

  • Texas Agricultural Extension Service: Proper Pruning Techniques
Keywords: grow holly shrubs, grow holly bushes, grow Christmas holly

About this Author

Leigh Walker has been working as a writer since 1995. She serves as a ghostwriter for many online clients creating website content, e-books and newsletters. She works as a title flagger and writer for Demand Studios, primarily writing home and garden pieces for and Walker pursued an English major/psychology minor at Pellissippi State.