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Common Holly

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Holly has glossy, spiny, dark green or variegated leaves and wears berries that can be either red or orange depending on the cultivar. Some of the cultivars are solely male, others purely female. Only female holly bears berries, but only when there is a male holly nearby so the insects can pollinate the flowers. There are also few forms that don’t need insects to pollinate them in order to form berries.

Flowering occurs in late spring to early summer and are white, sweetly scented and barely noticeable. The berries that form after flowering are green and start to turn red in early to mid autumn and provide a very important source of food for birds during winter.

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Holly likes full or partial shade and humus-rich, moist but not waterlogged soil. Plant them in your garden from mid autumn to early spring . Propagate can be done by layering branches or taking cuttings in autumn. Sowing seeds is also a possibility but they germinate very slow and the seedlings are slow-growing. Sow seed in autumn in a cold frame as soon as they ripe. It can take up to 18 months to germinate.

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