Growing Blue Holly In Pots

Blue Holly makes an attractive entryway container plant. Get a pair to ensure you have those bright red berries for the holiday season! Holly ‘Blue Princess’ and ‘Blue Prince’ are often sold as a pair. With a little extra water and pruning, growing Blue Holly in pots can be simple. First, in order to grow Blue Holly in a container or pot, you’ll need to take several things into consideration. 


Planting Blue Holly in Pots

As with planting in your garden ground you will still need to select a bright location in full to part-sun, and soil with good drainage. Plant your Blue Holly during the springtime after the last frost. Find a location that gets adequate sun and drainage. To reduce risk of transplant shock to the plant, keep the root ball moist until it is positioned in the container. You will need to select a container or pot that is large enough for the root ball. The planter size should be one and a half times as wide and deep as the nursery pot. The planter you select should also have excellent drainage. Add a bit of soil and a small amount of compost or slow-release granular fertilizer to the bottom of your pot. Loosen the root ball of your Blue Holly with your fingers, and place the plant in the container. Fill the rest of the container with the potting soil blend just up to the root crown. Water the surrounding soil until some water drains out of the bottom of the pot. 

Best Soil For Blue Holly in Pots

The soil for your potted Blue Holly should be moist, well draining, and slightly acidic. For best results, use a general-purpose potting soil with a few scoops of compost and sand. The sand will increase drainage efficiency, and the compost will be helpful to these acid-loving plants. The soil pH should stay between 5.0 and 6.0. Take into account that compost and livestock manure may modify the soil pH. Don’t be tempted to add rocks or other fillers to the bottom of your pot as this may impede drainage. Apply a thin layer of mulch around the dripline, away from the trunk, to retain moisture at the roots. 

Caring For Blue Holly in Planters 

Select a location that gets full sun to part shade, at least 4-6 hours of sunlight daily. Blue Holly prefers part sun and afternoon shade in areas that receive intense sunlight. If you see sickly, yellow leaves on your Blue Holly, it may be a sign that the plant is overwatered. Double check that the soil has proper drainage and doesn’t stay wet for too long. Amend the soil with humus, perlite, or other organic materials as necessary to maintain adequate nutrient content and provide better soil drainage. If you grow Blue Holly in a pot, ensure that the soil stays consistently moist up until the first frost of winter. 


Watering Blue Holly in Pots

When newly planted, water daily to keep your Blue Holly plant moist. Your Blue Holly shrub will need regular, deep watering for approximately three months until its roots get established in the soil. As a rule of thumb, your Blue Holly should receive about two inches of water per week. It usually takes 3 or 4 months before the plant will establish its roots. At this point, you can water a bit less, making sure the soil stays evenly moist, but not waterlogged. Stop watering in the winter unless the container does not receive natural precipitation.

Fertilizing Blue Holly in Pots

Fertilizing your potted Blue Holly can be important to replenish nutrients in the soil. You can fertilize Blue Holly with slow-release fertilizer, compost or fully decomposed livestock manure. If you select a slow-release, granular fertilizer, make sure that it contains 8-10% nitrogen, for example a 10-20-20 blend (nitrogen is represented by the first number in the group). Be aware that nitrogen-rich fertilizer is beneficial for beautiful, glossy foliage but may hinder berry development. 


Winter Care For Blue Holly in Pots

Overwinter your Blue Holly outdoors in a protected location if you live at the lower end of its growing range. You can avoid container cracking by using a frost-proof material instead of terracotta or ceramic. In order to help your Blue Holly survive through winter, make sure to give the plant a deep drink of water in the fall. Keeping the holly moist through the end of autumn will protect your evergreen from brown tips next growing season. There is no need to bring the plants indoors since Blue Holly is hardy in most growing zones. 

Growing Blue Holly Indoors

Blue Holly can be grown indoors as a houseplant but it is not recommended. These plants prefer to have good air circulation and lots of sunlight. Most indoor environments would not be able to meet the high light requirements for this shrub. For best results, provide your Blue Holly with a period of dormancy in the cold outdoors.


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Author Chris Link - Published 2-06-2023