How to Plant a Holly Grove


Holly trees come in many varieties from all over the world. American, English, Japanese and Chinese hollies all are popular trees for landscaping and habitat creation. Holly can be male or female, with the female producing the signature red berries. Both genders are needed for a self-sustaining holly grove.

Step 1

Choose a location for your holly grove. Most hollies like well-drained, rich soil with lots of sun.

Step 2

Choose a holly suitable for your area. Many are not cold hardy above zone 7, especially the Asian varieties. American holly is hardy to zone 5, however. Find out what cold hardiness zone you are in and check with your local arboretum or tree nursery to choose the right holly.

Step 3

Dig holes for the seedlings. Make them the depth of the root ball or container the holly seedling is already in. Stagger the plantings at least 50 feet apart to allow the trees to grow to their full potential.

Step 4

Plant a variety of male and female holly seedlings. You need about one male holly to every two or three female hollies, mixed together well for best pollination results. Water the bases of the seedlings once they are set in the holes.

Step 5

Fertilize and mulch the seedlings. Stick a few complete fertilizer sticks into the soil near the base of each holly, and add a layer of mulch about 2 inches deep surrounding the base.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you are trying to create bird habitat in your holly grove, keep in mind that planting in rows is not optimal for habitat creation. Try to mimic a more natural woods pattern when you place the seedlings instead.

Things You'll Need

  • Male and female holly seedlings
  • Garden spade
  • Fertilizer sticks
  • Mulch
  • Water


  • North Carolina State University Horticulture
  • Fluvanna County, Virginia Master Gardeners

Who Can Help

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Cold Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: how to plant holly trees, making a holly grove, planting hollies

About this Author

Kim Hoyum is a Michigan-based freelance writer. She has been a proofreader, writer, reporter and editor at monthly, weekly and daily publications for five years. She has a Bachelor of Science in writing and minor in journalism from Northern Michigan University.