Holly Shrubs

Buying tips for Holly Shrubs

Most people think of holly shrubs around Christmas time, which features dark green leaves with points and small, red berries.  In fact, it is common to see holiday wreathes and centerpieces made from the leaves and berries of the holly.  However, this particular type of shrub is also beautiful any time of year and in certain states such as Arkansas, it is commonly used in landscape designs.

Holly shrubs are a great addition to any landscape for a number of reasons.  For one thing, this type of shrub is very easy to grow and maintain.  Then when the red berries form, they provide a beautiful yet subtle hint of color.  Holly shrubs come in different varieties, some that grow taller than others do so whether you prefer a miniature shrub to a full grown shrub, you could find something in the holly family.

In fact, holly shrubs consist of about 20 different species for the American species, 120 for Oriental species, and close to 200 unique varieties for the English species.  Again, some holly shrubs are miniature, meaning they grow to no more than 18 inches but some of the other species can easily grow upwards to 50 feet or taller.

In addition to size, the different varieties come in different colored foliage.  While most are deep green, some are blue and some have different colored foliage.  The leaves of holly shrubs are also shaped different from one variety to another.  You will find some with rounded leaves, some columnar, some weeping, and some shaped like a pyramid.  Holly shrubs are also diverse in that they make a great standalone addition or they can be grouped, meaning you could add one to fill in a bare spot or create a beautiful hedge.

Some of the holly shrubs that most people are aware of have thorns, which takes away from their popularity but you need to remember that many varieties have no thorns at all so this should not discourage you from looking at possibilities.  Because holly shrubs are deciduous, male and female flowers grow on separate plants.  Plants that produce the beautiful red berries are females while those that do not produce berries would be male plants.

Keep in mind, if you were to purchase holly shrubs and find one or more not producing the beautiful berries, you could assume you have a male plant but other causes include:

  • The plant being female but without a male plant nearby
  • The flowers might have been damaged due to a late frost or freeze
  • The summer is extremely hot
  • The shrub was pruned where flower buds were accidentally removed

As mentioned, planting, growing, and caring for holly shrubs is quite easy, making this an exceptional choice.  However, you want to make sure the shrub has plenty of sunlight and that the soil is well drained.  Typically, these shrubs are quite hardy but you want to pay attention to the specifics for the species of shrub you end up choosing.  While the soil does not have to be rich, holly shrubs seem to favor organic soil.

If interested in holly shrubs, several things need to be considered.  Remember that some shrubs grow to 50 plus feet and some close to the ground so you need to determine ahead of time the height wanted.  When shopping for holly shrubs, species are broken down into four primary categories that include deciduous specimen plants, dwarf forms, varying heights, and tree forms, providing you with tons of opportunity.