The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

By Kate123

East Yorkshire , United Kingdom Gb

Hi all, just a query regarding my standard holly. I bought it last summer, it was doing pretty well. It actually flowered nicely earlier this springtime/summer. However, now it’s quite sparse and some of the berries have wizened and died. Is it lack of water? We try to water often. Saying that it’s planted on a slight incline.
Many thanks.

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with it shrivelling I would say lack of water is the main cause.
is it in the ground or a large pot? either way it does need more water.

25 Aug, 2019


Thanks Eileen, it’s in the ground. I’ll keep watering, more than before. It’s not great that it’s on a slight incline.

25 Aug, 2019


Looking at the first picture I thought that the shriveling berries might be caused by poor pollination. But the second picture shows, as SBG says lack of water. The second picture shows that the holly is in a bed which is next to some hard standing which will suck up some of the water so you need to water more often and perhaps give it a feed now, but no later and a heavy mulch to retain the moisture.

25 Aug, 2019


You could use a container with a couple of pinholes as a trickle feed if it wasn't too ugly but it'll be raining again pretty soon...

25 Aug, 2019


Try and sink a piece of pipe down in to the ground uphill from your holly. fill that with water regularly to get the water to where it can be accessed by the plant.

25 Aug, 2019


Thanks Darren, Jimmy and Scotsgran...I’ve taken your advice. Much appreciated.
We’ve buried a pipe into the ground next to the holly and hopefully this will do the trick!

26 Aug, 2019


What kind of Holly is this Kate? Seems a little early for berries as compared to mine. I look forward to seeing those bright red berries against the white snow. Has it been transplanted since you got it? Sufficient sun? Root damage? Let the soil dry out between waterings. Has it been disturbed during growing season? It's still settling in and may need time to develop a root system that can support it. So lots of water for the 1st year. I'm just trouble-shooting, but I need more information. Holly trees also need acidic soil or it will have trouble taking up water or nutrients. Was this grafted onto a different root stock? Several factors could lead to 'leaf wilt' in addition to above: Is it planted too deeply? I can't tell from the pic. The roots need oxygen to breath so the top of the root ball should be just below the surface.

Go onto google and type in 'Holly Tone by Espoma'. Can you get this or something like this in the UK? This could save your holly tree. It's good for all acidic loving plants - blueberries, rhododendrons, magnolias, just about all conifers. Worthwhile to get it. I hope this helps just a little.

27 Aug, 2019


Hi Bathgate, it’s a holly aquifolium “Alaska”, bought from a garden centre.
It’s planted on a slight incline and in full sun. It was planted last summer, never been moved and never been disturbed.
We have neutral soil. Previously we had a holly which grew pretty well - it was removed due to intensive garden restructure years ago.
Don’t think it’s planted too deeply either. It’s very odd, just seems to be struggling. I’ve 2 water buts which are used to water the garden, so it’s rain water as often as possible. Also, bought ericaceous plant food this year for the camellias, rhododendrons and some others.
Does this feedback give you any thoughts in regards to saving it? Thanks.

28 Aug, 2019


Unless something is attacking the roots, I'm out of ideas.

28 Aug, 2019


Thanks for trying to investigate Bathgate, I’ll keep on taking all the advice and keep my fingers crossed!

28 Aug, 2019

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