Sex and Hollies
For your holly to bear berries, it will need the right mate.
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by Marie Hofer, Gardening editor, HGTV.com
For a holly to bear berries, it has to be a female, and there needs to be a compatible male nearby. How can you tell whether you have either a male or female? You can't, at least not easily, so you have to depend on nursery-grown hollies that have been positively identified.
To be compatible, a male has to, in part, flower at the same time as the female. There's one exception: self-fertile hollies don't require a mate to set fruit, although berry production will be much better when a male is present. Some hollies like the common Burford holly set fruit without pollination.
The following are examples of suitable male-female combinations. The first name listed in each line is a female.
Ilex x meserveae
'China Girl' - 'China Boy'
'Blue Angel' - 'Blue Boy', 'Blue Stallion', 'Blue Prince'
'Red Sprite' - 'Jim Dandy' and 'Raritan Chief'
'Winter Red' - 'Southern Gentleman' and 'Late Red'
'Shaver' - 'Southern Gentleman'
'Afterglow' - 'Jim Dandy'
Ilex verticillata x Ilex serrata
'Sparkleberry' - 'Southern Gentleman' and 'Apollo'
'Harvest Red' - 'Apollo'
--Photographs of 'China Girl' and 'China Boy' by Michael A. Dirr