How to grow holly
In this little guide we see how to grow holly (Ilex aquifolium L.) and under what conditions it is possible.
The Ilex aquifolium is a very long-lived plant (which can live up to 200 years), with very slow growth (up to 5 meters) and that properly pruned can be grown as a shrub with reduced dimensions. Hollies are characterized by a beautiful green color of the leaves (darker in the spontaneous ones due to the quality of the rainwater) and with a capacity of spare leaves such that the plant looks like an evergreen.
The holly lives well in well-drained, well-sunny soils and is a very rustic plant. The only caution is represented by its root system, which being rather delicate, ill lends itself to transplants if not operated with special care.
The holly can then be grown in pots but in this case the soil must be prepared rich in humus, loose (silica sand), well draining and in rather large pots to avoid subsequent transplants.
The best irrigation technique is that of a few watered down but abundant and, possibly, with non-calcareous waters (to avoid the clearing of the leaves).
Whether in the garden or in the pot the holly needs sun full even or, at most, half shade.
As far as propagation is concerned, holly can be reproduced by seed, by semi-woody cutting (in this case the growth rate is greater) or by grafting or by layering. To prepare the cuttings it is good to take parts of twigs (20-30 cm) with 3-4 apical leaves, making a transverse cut and performing the operation between June and September and making it root in a place sheltered from the sun.
It is a good thing to immerse the cutting in a special rooting solution. At this point the cutting can be buried half in a wet mixture of peat and in the shade. When the plant has regained its regular vegetation, with the release of the first leaves it can be planted in the final place (garden or pot).
Among the major adversities in the cultivation of holly we remember the cochineals that can be kept at bay with timeliness (to the first extras) with natural white oils.