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How to Plant Helleri Holly

Helleri holly (scientific name Ilex crenata) is a dwarf holly variety that grows to be between 3 to 6 feet tall and 5 to 8 feet wide. It is a very dense shrub that is often grown as a hedge as an alternative to boxwoods. The holly, also known as dwarf Japanese holly and Heller's Japanese holly, is grown in USDA hardiness zones 5b through 8a.

Choose a planting site with full sun or partial shade, but they grow best in the latter. Helleri hollies can tolerate most soil types, but as with most shrubs, it does better in soil that is well draining. Check the soil five hours after a hard rain. If there is still water on top, it is not well draining and will need some amending (see step 3).

Dig a hole that is twice as large as the helleri holly’s current container. Space multiple plants 36 to 60 inches apart.

Amend the soil that you just dug out, if necessary. Mix in a couple inches of sand or compost to make the soil more suitable to water drainage.

Backfill the hole with the soil so it is just as deep as the holly’s current container. Take the helleri holly out if its container and set it straight into the hole.

Backfill the soil to fill in the hole, and push down on the soil with your hands to remove air pockets. The soil should be firm.

Water your newly planted holly well and mulch around the base of the plant to help maintain water. Keep the mulch about an inch away from the stem so moisture does not build up and cause it to rot or grow mildew.

Plant Helleri Holly

Plant Helleri holly where the plant is exposed to light shade or filtered sunlight. Nearly any soil type is acceptable, with the exception of sandy soil and hard, compacted clay. Dig a hole as deep as the plant's root ball and at least twice as wide. If the soil is poor, add a handful of compost to the bottom of the hole. Alternatively, add a liquid or water-soluble fertilizer to the hole according to label directions. Don't use dry fertilizer, which may damage the roots. If necessary, add more soil to replace soil that settles. Thereafter, Helleri holly is drought-tolerant and requires water only during hot, dry weather. Level the soil ring with a rake after the first growing season. Spread 2 inches of organic mulch such as bark chips, straw, chopped leaves or pine needles around the holly to conserve moisture, stabilize soil temperature and control weeds.

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