Pruning Blue Holly

This article is intended to guide you through properly pruning Blue Holly plants for healthy growth. In general, Blue Holly is low maintenance after it is established, and doesn’t require heavy pruning. In fact, it can be beneficial to prune rather sparingly. For best results, if you need to trim your holly, “tip-prune” new wood by cutting just above a leaf node. Blue Holly can be trimmed to maintain a desired shape and size. Pruning old wood might decrease the number of flowers and ornamental berries it can produce during the next growing season. Bypass-style pruning shears will make a clean cut and are best for pruning flexible, new wood like the tips of Blue Holly. 


When To Prune Blue Holly

Pruning can help to shape the holly or to control its growth and should be done in the early spring before new growth emerges. You can also choose to prune during the late fall, or early winter depending on your aesthetic preferences. One consideration is that the branches you remove mid-winter may carry the buds necessary for next spring’s flowers.    

Some gardeners prefer waiting until the winter to prune their holly in order to use the sprigs in holiday wreaths, ornaments, and decor. Keep in mind that the downside of pruning too late is that you may discourage the production of next season’s berries and expose your plant to damaging frost. Start pruning while Blue Holly plants are young. This will establish the desired shape for the shrub and make it easier for you to maintain it. 


Why Prune Blue Holly

Pruning your Blue Holly can be beneficial for several reasons. Pruning can control an overgrown shrub and maintain its overall health by removing dead or damaged growth. Pruning is also useful if you would like to maintain a privacy hedge. Throughout the year, you should be looking for dead, diseased, and broken branches that can be removed. If your Blue Holly shows signs of disease, it can be cut back to a few inches and will regrow.  Pruning will also give your plant adequate air circulation, which helps prevent fungal issues. 

How To Prune Blue Holly

Step 1 - Gather materials needed for pruning 

You will need some sharp hand-held bypass pruning shears

Step 2 - Cut at leaf nodes or buds to remove dead, damaged, or diseased branches

Leaf nodes are where new leaves will emerge 

Step 3 - Continue trimming all the way around the shrub

The base of the shrub is usually left slightly wider than the top, creating a conical shape


Blue Holly Pruning Tips

  • Never remove more than one-third of the shrub at a time
  • Pruning can help to stimulate growth
  • Remove crossed branches to prevent damage and reduce disease entry points
  • Never prune Blue Holly too close to a temperature drop since the new growth might be damaged

This page contains affiliate links to products on Amazon. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.


Chris Link Profile Pic

Author Chris Link - Published 2-06-2023