Ever wondered why your holly doesn't have berries? We explain why.

Hollies are either male or female – only the females berry. Very few are self-fertile, so a female generally needs a male nearby (in the same garden or a neighbour’s) to produce berries. Alternatively, over pruning may be the reason for a non-berrying holly (hollies only fruit on wood two years old, or more). Late pruning (only prune in late winter/early spring), or drought or frost at flowering time, are other causes. Want to grow holly in your garden? Here’s our top five variety picks!



1. Ilex crenata ‘Golden Gem’
This is such a classy, graceful plant, especially when cloud- or topiary-pruned; in small cultivar form it is a fabulous ground cover plant. 5ft (1.5m) high and wide.

2. Ilex x koehneana ‘Chestnut Leaf’
Conspicuously toothed leaves that are more sweet chestnut than holly (hence the name). Also produces clusters of red berries. 33ft (10m) high x 13ft (4m) wide.

3. ‘J. C. Van Tol’
Produces berries freely and has glossy, dark green foliage and a dense pyramidal form, making it very good for hedges.

4.Ilex aquifolium ‘Handsworth New Silver’
This holly has just the right balance of variegation to green leaf; a dark green centre with a cream edge and lots of berries. 13ft (4m) high x 6ft (2m) wide.

5. Ilex integra ‘Gold Leaf’
This is a fairly new hybrid and it requires a bit of searching to find it, but it is definitely worth it for its amazing, pure gold new foliage. 6ft (2m) high x 5ft (1.5m) wide.


Welsh Holly
(01994) 231 789

King and Co
The Tree Nursery Ltd, Essex
(01376) 340469

Majestic Trees, Herts
(01582) 843881