How to Grow a Holly Tree from Seed
Holly trees are used as a traditional symbol of winter holidays. However, growing holly is not as easy as growing other types of trees, especially if you plan on growing a holly tree from seed. However, if you are interested in a gardening project that will result in the growth of a very festive and beautiful tree then holly trees are a good option.
Step 1 – Harvest Holly Berries
The first step is to harvest ripe holly berries from an existing holly tree. This is done simply by picking the ripe berries off of the tree.
Step 2 – Remove Seeds
The next step is to remove the seeds from the berries. This is the messy part. Put on a pair of latex gloves and split the berries apart with your fingers. Then remove the seeds from the center of the berry.
Step 3 – Complete the Stratification Process
Holly tree seeds are unique in that they require a period of dormancy called stratification in order to germinate. To stratify your holly tree seeds you need to bury the seeds in a container that has about two inches of moist sand. Place the container somewhere cool such as a root cellar or even in your refrigerator. They will need to remain cool for about one year.
Step 4 – Holly Seed Germination
After a year of stratification your holly tree seeds are ready for germination. To germinate your holly tree seeds you will need to plant them in either a container that is filled with garden soil or you will need to plant them in your yard. The planting needs to be in the spring of the year, following a year of stratification.
When planting holly tree seeds in your yard you will need to space them so that they are about 15 cm apart in a row. Make sure the soil that you cover the seeds with is slightly acidic. You can mix in pine litter to help bring up the acidity of your soil. Water your holly seedlings well during their first year of life.
Step 5 – Thin Your Rows
After about a year of growth your holly trees will be ready to be transplanted. This transplantation process will thin out the rows to give each holly tree more space. When transplanting the trees you will want to mulch the tree with coffee grounds. You will also need to provide your sapling with a good dose of slow release fertilizer once a year during its first five years after being transplanted.
Step 6 – Basic Care
You can transplant your holly tree again when it is about five years old to its final location. At this point your tree is going to be getting to a size that will make it difficult to move. Basic care for a mature holly tree will include annual fertilizing and pruning. You will also want to offer your holly tree regular watering and pest control treatments.