How to Plant Holly


Holly is typically associated with the Christmas holiday season. Its distinctive prickly, pointed leaves and red berries are a familiar image that adorns Christmas cards, holiday wrapping paper and seasonal decorations. There are more than 300 species of holly, including the well-known American and English varieties. It's not difficult to plant holly shrubs and trees in your own backyard.

Step 1

Dig a hole that is 2 feet wide for shrubs, or 3 feet wide for trees. The hole should be deep enough so that when the plant is placed in the hole, it will be the same depth as it was when growing in the nursery.

Step 2

Set the holly plant in the hole, holding by the root ball and not the stem. Remove any bindings on the root ball.

Step 3

Fill a bucket with water and pour it into the hole. Repeat two more times and allow the water to drain.

Step 4

Backfill the hole with the dirt you initially removed.

Step 5

Make a 5-inch ring or dam around the plant, using the remaining soil. This is to hold water when watering.

Step 6

Add several inches of mulch to the base of the plant.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid planting in soil that is clay, overly sandy or compact. Handle the plant by the stem, and never the root ball.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Bucket
  • Mulch


  • World Book; Jerry Baskin; 1990
  • Flowering Shrubs; James Crodkett; 1972
  • Fort Valley State University College of Agriculture
Keywords: planting holly, growing holly, holly

About this Author

Ann Johnson was the editor of a community magazine in Southern California for more than 10 years and was an active real estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelors of Art degree in communications from California State University of Fullerton. Today she is a freelance writer and photographer, and part owner of an Arizona real estate company.