How to Plant & Grow


Holly plants are essential additions to your garden, especially for festive displays. These can appear anywhere from small shrubs to large climbers.   

If you’re new to growing Hollies, then you’re in the right place. We hope this guide helps you learn how to grow and maintain your Holly shrubs like a pro.    

What We've Included

When to Plant  |  Where to Plant  |  How to Plant  |  When to Water  |  Cross-pollinating  |  Pruning  |  Propagating  |  Common Diseases & Pests  |  When do they flower?

When to Plant Holly

Container-grown Hollies can be planted at any time of year, but preferably in autumn, winter and spring. Avoid planting when the ground is frozen or waterlogged. 

Where to Plant Holly

Holly shrubs can be grown in well-drained soil in sun or shaded areas of the garden. They thrive in moist soil but not waterlogged.  

How to Plant Holly

   Planting Holly from pots into borders   
Pot-grown plants are incredibly easy to plant and grow. Whether you’re growing them directly outside into the border or into a container, our pot-grown plants are a breeze from the moment they arrive.              
- Prepare the soil before planting with plenty of organic matter, like compost, before planting. This helps the soil retain moisture, helping your Holly thrive.    
- Water the plant well before planting it in place so that the stress on the plant is minimalised.    
- Dig a hole in the border that’s twice the width of the root system, and as deep as it was in its pot.    
- Wedge in the plant by adding soil to the gaps in the hole, firming down the surface to ensure it’s in place.       - Water in well, and you’re done!     
Planting Holly into Containers   
   - Choose a container that is slightly larger than the original container.    
- Fill the pot with your compost of choice.    
- After two or three years, the roots fill the pot, which means it’s time to repot it into a slightly larger container in spring.   

When to Water Holly

For the first few years, water Holly shrubs in dry spells throughout spring and summer. Once they have established, they are drought tolerant and won’t need watering as often, except for particularly dry spells in summer to help produce healthy growth.   

Cross-pollinating Holly

If you’re after those bright, colourful winter berries, then a bit of work needs to go into planting and planning for this.   
These berries are produced on female plants. However, they can only do this if you have both the male and female plants close by each other, as the male plant pollinates the other.  

Pruning Holly

Hollies can be cut back or lightly trimmed, whatever you prefer. They can be trimmed into hedges of formal shapes or left to do whatever they fancy. To prune holly shrubs, do this in late summer before the new growth becomes wood-like.  

Propagating Holly 

If you’re looking to propagate your holly shrub, you can do this from seed. Collect their seeds from the berries they produce in winter, removing the flesh and rinsing the seeds. Plant them in compost and leave them outside to germinate. You can also take semi-ripe cuttings in late summer when you do your pruning or hardwood cuttings in winter.  

Common Diseases and Pests

Hollies can be usually pest and trouble-free. However, they can be affected by one issue: leaf blight.   
This is a fungal infection that affects the leaves, causing discolouration and lack of growth. It thrives in damp and cold conditions. Unfortunately, there is no treatment, but if you notice any symptoms of this infection then cut off the area and burn the trimming to prevent spread.  

 When do Hollies flower?

Holly shrubs can produce tiny red berries in winter, lasting throughout the season. The female plants produce these red berries but need a male plant to cross-pollinate them. See our above section on cross-pollination for more information.