How to make a holly tree cutting

Written by diane dilov-schultheis
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How to make a holly tree cutting
Most holly trees produce bright red berries and feature dark green leaves. (wild holly image by Joy Prescott from

Holly, or Ilex, contains various species of evergreens and deciduous shrubs and trees grown around the world. Hollies range in height from shrubs a few feet tall up to 15 m (50 feet) tall holly trees. Known for the glossy dark green foliage and bright red berries, hollies are associated with the holidays since the holly branches are often used to create wreaths and other holiday decorations. Propagating holly tree cuttings allows you to grow additional holly trees instead of spending money to buy new trees.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Knife
  • Pot
  • Potting mix (growing medium)
  • Straw or sticks
  • Paper plate or plastic bag
  • Rooting hormone
  • Plastic bag
  • Spray bottle

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  1. 1

    Collect hardwood cuttings from the holly tree during winter or semi-hardwood cuttings during the summer. Gather more than you think you'll need to ensure enough of them take root. A medium-sized pot can hold several cuttings.

  2. 2

    Cut 15 cm (6 inch) sections of the holly tree from the tip of new healthy branches. Or cut larger sections that you can then cut down in size.

  3. 3

    Keep at least two leaves on the upper portion of the holly cuttings. Remove all leaves from the lower part.

  4. 4

    Fill a pot with a growing medium containing a mixture of peat, perlite and sand. Use a stick to make holes in the dirt the same diameter of the holly cuttings. Go about 7.5 cm (3 inches) deep. Space the holes just far enough apart to prevent the leaves from touching and for light to reach all parts of the holly cuttings.

  5. 5

    Put a little bit of rooting hormone into a small plastic bag. Dip each holly cutting into the bag to coat the bottom with the hormone.

  6. 6

    Place the holly cutting in the hole and firm the soil around the cutting. Repeat for each cutting. Moisten the growing medium with water.

  7. 7

    Cover the pot with a large plastic bag with a few slits in it to maintain humidity and allow air circulation. Place the container in a location with indirect sunlight.

  8. 8

    Check the cuttings every few days and mist, if needed, to maintain moisture in the growing medium.

Tips and warnings

  • Gently pull on the cuttings after 30 days to see if roots are forming. If the holly cuttings resist, the root system is developing. Wait at least a few more weeks after roots begin forming to replant the cuttings into individual pots.

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