How to Take Care of Holly Bushes


The holly family, a diverse group of plants, includes almost 400 species. Mostly evergreen, holly plants range in size from 18 inches to 50 feet. The shapes vary as well, from tall columns to rounded shrubs. Gardeners generally use holly plants as privacy hedges or ornamentals. Overall a low-maintenance plant, it requires very little care. Holly bushes thrive in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5a to 9b.

Step 1

Provide an area of the garden where the holly bush will get plenty of sun. Check for underground pipes as the holly bush tends to have long roots that may become invasive to pipes, septic tanks and sidewalks.

Step 2

Check the pH of your soil. Although the holly bush is tolerant of a range of soils, it does best in somewhat acidic soil. Your county cooperative extension office can analyze your soil and recommend appropriate soil amendments to help your holly shrub to thrive.

Step 3

Apply a 3-inch layer of compost under the holly bush each spring. Keep it at least 2 inches from the trunk and spread it out as far as the outermost branches. This will help the soil stay moist and control weeds.

Step 4

Prune the holly bush in the fall. Trim off any dying or dead branches, and prune the bush to the desired shape.

Step 5

Water the holly bush only if you don't get much rain. The plant requires 1 inch of rain per week.


  • National Gardening Association: Holly
  • "Complete Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs: All You Need to Know About Growing Trees and Shrubs"; Nico Vermeulen; 2004
Keywords: holly bush care, holly shrub plant, grow holly

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations, worldwide. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.