Holly Bush Care

Learn how to grow and care for this traditional holiday bush.

Related To:
Holly Bush

Holly Bush

Hollies bring an eye-catching display of evergreen leaves that is often punctuated with bright red or gold berries.

©2013, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

2013, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

From its waxy, pointy green leaves to its signature bright-red berries, the cheerful, festive holly bush is often associated with Christmas. But the popular plant is just as gorgeous at other times of the year, creating a lush, dense backdrop with a pop of color. 

Fortunately, once your holly bushes are established, they are easy to maintain. If you’d like to plant your own holly bush, just follow these steps:

1. Location, location, location. Holly bushes do best in well-drained, moderately acidic soil, in full sun. They don’t like to be transplanted, so think carefully about where you’ll plant.

2. Pick the right time to plant. Plant when it’s cool out. Late fall, early winter, or early spring are generally the best times to plant, depending on your climate and the holly variety you’ll be planting.

3. Variety matters. When choosing your holly bush, keep in mind a few things:

  • The bright red berries that make holly so attractive don’t grow on the male plants of many varieties. Look for a variety that does not need a male plant in order to produce berries, or else plant a female and male plant close together.
  • Some holly bushes grow to about 6 feet tall, while others can reach 50 feet and higher! Make sure you choose a plant that’s the right size for your landscape — and that will thrive in your climate. The quintessential Christmas variety, for example, is English holly, which grows best in Zone 6.

Caring for your holly bush:

  • Water daily for the first week after you plant your holly bush, then twice a week afterward until they are established. After that, the bush should receive at least 2 inches of water per week. Fertilize once a year.
  • Weed often, and prune regularly so that the holly doesn’t choke itself out.
  • Don’t cut too much. If you want to decorate your home with holly next Christmas, plant an extra bush or two so you don’t have to take too much from one.
Keep Reading

Next Up

In the Weeds: Winterberry Holly

Our resident hands-on horticulturist-in-training, Ben Ford, enlightens us about a plant or flower sure to bring color and life to your garden, offering practical planting and maintenance tips.

10 Pretty Rose Picks

Try one of these beautiful roses in your garden this year.

Landscaping Shrubs

The mighty shrub: revamp your yard with attractive landscaping shrubs that are easy to grow.

Grow Guide: Knock Out Rose Substitutes and Bird Seed Plant Damage

Some of my favorite roses are antiques that have been handed down through the generations.

Butterfly Bush: Our Favorite Flowers

Butterflies (and hummingbirds!) love to visit this vigorous flowering shrub.

How to Care for Butterfly Bushes

These colorful flowering shrubs are easy to care for and a favorite of gardeners and butterflies alike.

How to Rustle Roses

Learn how to find, propagate and grow old, antique rose varieties to add beauty and fragrance to your garden.

Rose Care: Tending Your Precious Blossoms

British rose expert Susan Rushton offers tips.

Caring for Your English Roses

Tips from David Austin Roses on pampering your petals.

Japanese Barberry

This dense, thorny multi-seasonal shrub is perfect for spicing up your landscaping.

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.