Growing Hollies in Pots

What Types of Hollies Can You Grow in Pots?

Not all hollies can be grown in pots. A good example is the deciduous hollies since their roots will sucker. The larger hollies such as the Blue or Meserve Hollies aren’t good candidates for keeping and growing in a pot. But you can grow Inkberry hollies, Japanese hollies and Sky Pencil hollies in a pot. After a few years you may have to replace them with a smaller plant and put the originals in the garden.


When to plant hollies in pots

If you plan to grow your holly in a container there are a few things that you should do first. Plant it in the early spring.

Where to plant hollies in pots 

Find a sunny spot for your plant that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Get a large decorative pot that is at least 20-22 inches wide and at least 2 ½ feet deep. It should also have a drainage hole. Before planting, water your holly thoroughly at least 12 hours before planting. A plastic or resin pot will be easier to move around if necessary. Partially fill it with a good potting mix specifically for shrubs and trees that has been moistened lightly before adding the plant. By wetting the soil it prevents dry soil from wicking away moisture from the plant.  


How to plant hollies in pots

Remove your holly from its container and loosen any roots that are tangled. If they are extremely tight, take a utility knife and make a large X across the roots and loosen them up. Place the holly in the pot being careful to plant it at the same depth as it was in the nursery container. Add the rest of the potting soil around the sides of the plant taking care not to leave any air pockets. NEVER add packing peanuts or rocks or bricks to the pot. That actually reduces the root space and also makes your pot heavier. 

Watering hollies in pots

Water thoroughly until the water runs out of the bottom.  You should water hollies at least once a week until the water runs out of the bottom of the container. That is especially important when there are extended periods of drought. You can also put a light layer of bark mulch to help retain some moisture.

Fertilizing hollies in pots

An ideal fertilizer for hollies is a slow release fertilizer such as Holly Tone.  Just follow the directions on the bag.


Winter care for hollies in pots

Winter care for holly shrubs is important. If your container is in a windy area you may want to move the pot out of the wind or wrap the plant with a blanket of burlap to protect it.  There are frost proof ceramic pots if you are in a cold region. Don’t forget that you can water your holly during the winter to protect it from freeze and windburn. If your winters are severe enough, you may want to place the pot against a wall or garage that is completely out of the wind.

Plants in pots tend to dry out quicker than those in the ground so watering thoroughly on a regular basis is crucial to its survival. We offer large self-watering pots that would be ideal for planting hollies. 

Growing Hollies Indoors

You can’t grow hollies indoors. The plants need to go through cold weather in the winter in order to prepare for the following spring. The plants are evergreen and provide year round interest though, so hollies are still great plants for growing in the winter. Just keep them outdoors.

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 Author Denise Schreiber - Published 10-11-2021