There are both male and female varieties of the evergreen common holly (Ilex aquifolium) and for a plentiful crop of berries, both male and female forms must be planted together. Nurserymen will, of course, supply the male and female forms and catalogues usually indicate the sex of each variety. Note that a heavy crop of berries may mean that the tree rests for a season, few, if any, berries being produced the following year.

Hollies are slow to re-establish themselves and large trees do not take kindly to transplanting. September or May are the best months to plant and 2 ft. high trees with a ball of soil round the roots are preferred. Newly-planted hollies must never be allowed to become dry at the roots. Water freely at any time during the first year after planting and/or mulch with damp peat, leaf mould etc. to help conserve moisture. Hollies may be increased by cuttings from the current season’s ripe wood taken immediately below a joint. A hormone preparation will assist rooting.

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