Theholly shrub grows spontaneously in European undergrowth. It is a shrub with great ornamental qualities. Its leaves are widely used to decorate Christmas wreaths. Holly (Ilex aquifolium) belongs to the Aquifoliaceae family which is very often found in the undergrowth of temperate forests. Its evergreen foliage has alternate leathery, shiny leaves with thorns. Flowering occurs in May-June, with small white flowers, male and female, grouped in cymes. The holly fruit appear in early spring. These are red or yellow drupes that make birds happy. Note that they contain alkaloids and are therefore very toxic to humans. You can however prepare a drink based on holly flowers. The elixir obtained, nicknamed Holly, would bring harmony to people carrying in them hatred and malice.
In hedge or isolated, holly is ideally planted in spring or autumn, in a clay soil, rich in humus and well drained, but preferably not very calcareous. Keep the shrub in a partially shaded environment, this is where it will most enjoy, although it can bear full sun.
It is easy to maintain: it is not afraid of air pollution or low temperatures. You can prune it severely in the spring or late summer. Holly is very slow growing, you can add a little fertilizer to speed up the process, but in low doses or you may see it wither.
During the summer, water holly in moderation.
In the wild, holly can grow up to 20 meters tall, although it is more often 4 to 6 meters tall. It is of course possible to keep it small in order to form a hedge. For this, it must be pruned vigorously.
Holly is not very susceptible to pests. However, watch for aphid attacks and the presence of scale insects on the leaves. Apply only if the plant is not very old and appears to be damaged by insects. Once an adult, holly is very hardy and rarely worried by the insects that feed on it.