Gardening

Holly berries

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Question: holly berries

Good morning,

I would like to know if, having planted two holly trees close together, it is possible that the female produces berries despite being of 2 different types (the male with green leaf and yellow end and the female all green leaf).

Thank you!


Answer: holly berries

Dear Vittorio,

holly (ilex aquifolium) are evergreen shrubs, present in Italy even in the wild; they are dioecious plants, that is, female flowers and male flowers bloom on different plants; therefore if you want healthy holly and full of berries it is necessary to plant female specimens, as the males do not produce fruits. To favor the development of many berries, at least one male specimen is positioned close to several female specimens, so that these plants can be correctly pollinated. It is not necessary for the male to be of the same identical variety with respect to the female, since they are plants of the same species, although the foliage may sometimes appear very different (presence of streaks for example). The difference will be in the seeds, which can generate plants of a hybrid variety between the two, or plants similar to the mother or father. Hollies are fairly widespread plants, both in the undergrowth and in the gardens; for this reason it often happens that those who own only female plants, find themselves with many berries, thanks to the pollen provided by the male specimens planted in the surrounding gardens. This is because pollinating insects often move several meters a day; Furthermore, pollen is also transported by the wind, thus being able to travel very large spaces.

In recent years, breeders have been trying to obtain self-fertile hollies, that is, which produce both female and male flowers; in fact these holly varieties are not very easy to find in the nursery.

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