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How to Root Holly Cuttings

The holly tree is a handsome evergreen that provides colour in your yard during the winter when everything else is dormant. You can start cuttings taken from a healthy tree and start several new holly trees without paying for anything besides sterile potting soil and the materials needed to grow the cuttings indoors. Within a few years, your cuttings will have grown into small trees.

Take cuttings from the ends of a branch where the wood is 1 year old or less. Make a straight cut with pruning shears, just beyond a bud site, selecting 6-inch pieces.

Set the cutting into a container of water so that the cut does not have a chance to dry out. Remove the bottom leaves so the surface area you will bury is clean.

Fill a planting container with a clean mix of one part sand and one part peat moss. Dampen the mix with water, mixing it until there are no dry spots and the water drains from the bottom.

Poke 3-inch-deep holes in the container with the back of a pencil, keeping the holes 2 inches away from each other.

Slide the cuttings into the holes and tamp the soil around the stems with your fingers to make good soil-to-plant contact.

Wrap the planting container with a clear plastic bag to maintain high humidity levels. Set the container in a warm room with temperatures between 15.6 and 21.1 degrees Celsius.

Check the container weekly for any signs of growth and to make sure the soil is damp. Expect to see buds swelling or new leaves after about four to six weeks.

Remove the plastic covering when you see signs of growth and set the container in a sunny window.

Remove the rooted cutting carefully, holding as much soil around the roots as possible by turning the container on its side and using a small putty knife to remove the holly cutting safely.

Transplant the cuttings into a larger pot filled with damp potting soil or outside in the spring after all danger of frost has passed. Find a planting spot where it can get full sunlight and have well-draining soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • 6-inch deep planting container
  • Peat moss
  • Sand
  • Plastic bag
  • Potting soil
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About the Author

Maryland resident Heide Braley is a professional writer who contributes to a variety of websites. She has focused more than 10 years of research on botanical and garden articles and was awarded a membership to the Society of Professional Journalists. Braley has studied at Pennsylvania State University and Villanova University.