Holly, scientifically named Ilex aquifolium , is a small, slow-growing tree that is very popular at Christmas parties. In fact, the abuse over many years of plants such as holly and mistletoe at Christmas has led them to be in danger and both are currently protected species, so only plants sold in stores can be used as Christmas decorations of gardening or similar places and have been cultivated expressly for it, never taken directly from nature. Therefore, the first thing you should know is that it is totally forbidden to take holly or its fruits of nature, and in some countries the fines are very severe.
These are some of the main characteristics of holly :
- The holly plant can reach sizes of up to 10 meters, although it is much more common to see potted holly in small bushes. The holly in the garden , however, it can grow considerably, and long enough to reach great heights.
- The most striking thing about this plant is its bright red fruit, which is also toxic if ingested, so it must be kept away from children and animals at home.
- The leaves of holly are stiff, jagged edge, slightly prickly and a very nice dark green color.
- Its trunk is smooth and straight and the plant adopts a pyramidal shape when it grows.
- And when does holly bloom ? It is in spring when its small white flowers appear, forming compact clusters in the axils of the leaves.
Location for holly
It is very common to find holly in a pot , which is why many believe that it is an indoor plant, a false impression also fueled by the habit of using Christmas holly as another decoration inside the home. The reality is that this is a markedly outdoor plant, which needs a natural cold breeze to develop properly. Holly needs cold, a slight draft and indirect light, so it is not difficult to realize that it will hardly be able to survive well inside our homes. Therefore, if you place a potted holly indoors, it will last a short time in good condition and it will end up dying, especially if you have it near a heat source.
The best thing then is to have the holly in the garden , find a semi-shady or shady location , in an area not too sheltered.
As with many shade plants, the holly plant needs a good humidity index. It is necessary to maintain constant and frequent watering that never let the soil dry out completely , especially in summer. If we try to keep the plant indoors due to greater need, it is very important to regularly spray its leaves with water.
In cold months it is necessary to carry out holly pruning , that is, between autumn and winter . And how to prune holly ? The most important part is to eliminate the branches that get in the way or grow in the wrong directions, as well as clean the plant of branches or leaves that are damaged or in bad condition. In addition, we can take advantage of this to give the tree a formation pruning, designed so that it does not grow more than we want or that it takes a shape that we like more.
This tree has very demanding and delicate roots in terms of humidity levels, so it does not tolerate transplants well. However, it is likely that sooner or later we will need to transplant it, the moment we decide to do it is very important. Thus, when in doubt as to which month the holly trees are transplanted, it will be vital to do so when the tree is in a vegetative state, that is, the best time to transplant a holly is during the cold months, in autumn and winter .
Why my holly does not bear fruit
It is possible that your holly is not in optimal condition, which will logically cause it to bear fewer fruits than usual or simply not at all. However, it may happen that you take care of your holly perfectly and, despite everything, it does not bear a single fruit. What is this about? It does not necessarily mean that your plant is affected by holly diseases .
Holly is a dioecious tree, which means there are male and female plants. Only female holly plants bear fruit , so if your holly is male it will never bear fruit no matter how well you care for it.
How to decorate with holly for Christmas
There are many ways to use holly in Christmas decoration , although the best are those that do not go through mistreating the plant. You can use the remains of the annual pruning to make all kinds of Christmas decorations with them, such as:
- Centerpieces with its leaves and other dried plants.
- Garlands for wall or shelf.
- A holly wreath on the front door.
- If you only want holly to decorate your home, we recommend using artificial imitations to use for many years, which are equally decorative, or placing the pot as close to a window as possible and away from heat sources, so that some of the cold from out through the windows.