How To Grow A Holly Hedge Full Of Berries

IMG 2570 1024x614 How To Grow A Holly Hedge Full Of Berries

Hollies are standard garden fair, but to plant the healthiest hedge possible you need to mix in two types of plants.

Most plants have flowers with either male and female parts, or produce male and female flowers on the same plant, in order to fertilize themselves and produce fruit. Hollies have  an unusual reproduction style in the world of botany, and individual plants are either completely male or completely female. When Hollies reproduce, both the male and female plants produce flowers, and the males pollinate the females with the help of the wind or insects.  The females contain the seeds to be fertilized, so they produce the only fruit. For a hedge to produce berries, both males and females of the same species must be present in close proximity to each other to complete pollination and trigger fruit production in the female.  This type of reproduction is called Dioecy, and occurs in only a very few types of plants. Hollies, Date Palms, and Willows are some of the few examples of it.

Hollies of differing varieties (cultivars) will be unable to pollinate each other since their blooming schedule is so specific to each variety that it will not occur in tandem.  Because of this it is important to not only make sure that a Holly hedge consists of both male and female plants, but that the varieties are the same if you want them to fruit.

In existing hedges that lack fruit, it is important to match the variety of Holly in your yard with the correct match at a local garden center.  You can take a cutting to the garden center for them to match, or preform your own research online.  One male bush can fertilize a large number of females, so in most cases one male bush will be all you need to locate for your yard.

Holly berries not only make  a hedge more ornamental, but they also serve as an important food source for local wildlife through the winter and migration periods, which brings more movement and interest into your yard. If you are looking for more seasonal color from your hedge, and haven’t found any berries on your hollies, check to see if you have female or male bushes, and then purchase the opposite sex for your yard.

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