How to Identify the Difference Between Male & Female Holly Bushes

Updated July 20, 2017

Determining the sex of a plant may not seem critical to the casual gardener, but when it comes to holly bushes, it's important to know which ones are male and which are female. You need to plant at least one male holly bush close enough to a female for successful pollination, according to Gardening Know How. If you want your holly to prosper, close examination is the key.

Check tags carefully at the nursery. If you're lucky, the holly bushes will be labelled according to sex.

Look for berries. Assuming bushes are not labelled, checking for berries is the easiest way to find a female bush. Female holly shrubs produce berries. Before berries and blooms appear, it's almost impossible to tell the difference between male and female holly shrubs, say the experts at Gardening Know How.

Examine the flowers. If you look between the leaf and joint of the branch, you will find small bunches of white blossoms. Male and female bushes produce similar flowers, but the stamens on flowers of male bushes are more noticeable.

Be sure not to rely on names given to bushes. According to Gardening Know How, names such as Golden King and Golden Queen can be deceiving because Golden King is the female plant. However, many names, such as Blue Prince and Blue Princess may lead you to assume sex accurately.

Be sure to plant at least one male bush close to female bushes to ensure pollination. One male can pollinate many female shrubs.

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About the Author

Melinda Taylor lives in the Northwest and began writing for publication in 1990. She has worked as a reporter for newspapers including "The Republic" in Columbus, Ind. "The Indianapolis Star" and "The Albuquerque Journal." Taylor has a Bachelor of Arts in in journalism and sociology from Butler University in Indianapolis.