How to Grow a Standard Holly Bush

As evergreen standard holly bushes, the Burford (Ilex cornuta) or yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) help fill up a drab area of the garden with attractive berries and lush, green foliage year-round. The standard Burford holly bush grows to a height of 25 feet with a width of 25 feet. The yaupon normally grows the same size, but sometimes can attain a height of 45 feet. Both shrubs grow well as ornamental specimens, or can be trimmed into privacy hedges.

Plant the holly bush in a location with full sunlight or partial shade. The planting location should have well-draining, slightly acidic soil conditions.

Dig a hole twice as large as the shrub's root system. Plant the standard holly bush at the same depth as it was planted in its nursery container. Tamp the soil down around the shrub to remove any air pockets.

Water the newly planted standard holly bush thoroughly. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.

Apply 3 to 4 inches of mulch around the base of the shrub. The mulch will help reduce weed growth and keep the soil moist.

Work aged manure into the soil surrounding the holly bush in the early spring or fertilise using a general-purpose fertiliser. Apply the fertiliser according to the directions on its label.


Only the female yaupon holly bushes produce berries. The Burford is self-fertile and will produce berries easily. Plant standard holly bushes year-round in temperate climates. In areas with cold winters, plant the shrub in the spring or early summer months. Once established, the Burford and yaupon holly bushes are drought tolerant. Prune the holly bush in the early spring if necessary. The bush can be grown naturally or kept shaped through pruning. The standard Burford holly bush grows well in U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Map zones 7 to 9. The yaupon bush grows well in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 to 10.


Watch for insect infestation on the Burford holly bush in the form of tea scale.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Mulch (bark chips or recycled plastic)
  • Aged manure or general-purpose fertiliser
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Based in Oregon, Kimberly Sharpe has been a writer since 2006. She writes for numerous online publications. Her writing has a strong focus on home improvement, gardening, parenting, pets and travel. She has traveled extensively to such places as India and Sri Lanka to widen and enhance her writing and knowledge base.