Holly bushes are a popular choice for home gardens, with their rich green leaves and beautiful white flowers that bloom throughout the winter months. But many people may not realize that these plants are also extremely attractive to bees and other pollinators, making them an ideal choice for those looking to attract these helpful insects into their gardens. Whether you’re planting a single bush or incorporating hollies into your flower garden design, this thriving and buzzing plant is sure to bring colour and life all year long.
The flowers of the holly bush offer a rich source of pollen and nectar, providing bees with valuable sustenance during the cold winter months when other flowering plants have long since died off. These flowers are highly attractive to a wide variety of pollinators, including bumblebees, honey bees, and even butterflies who seek out this food source for their own survival.
In addition to its role as a food source, the holly bush also provides important shelter for birds by offering nesting sites in its long branches and thorny leaves.
What Are Holly Bushes
Holly bushes are dense, evergreen shrubs that are renowned for their vibrant red berries and striking holly leaves. These popular plants are commonly used in Christmas decorations due to their association with the holiday season, and they can also be grown as beautiful ornamental shrubs year-round.
Holly bushes or Ilex as they are also known are perennial plants, typically they have dark green leaves with spiny edges, along with clusters of bright red berries. Boasting more than 570 species, Ilex is a remarkable genus of flowers that belongs to the Aquifoliaceae family, and the only living genus in that family. Of all the woody dioecious angiosperm genera, Ilex boasts the greatest number of species.
The flowers on the holly are distinct in that they come in two different forms of separate plants, male and female. The females are filled with nectar, and attractive to bees and other pollinators.
In order to have beautiful red berries on your holly plants each winter, it is essential that you have a male plant nearby. This is because the male plant release high-quality pollen that is necessary for the successful pollination of the female flowers. Without this pollen, the females will be unable to produce red berries. Just one example of why bees are important pollinators.
Holly thrives in full sun or partial shade, with well-drained but moist, moderately fertile soil. Its rate of growth is slow, and it blooms from May to June.
To care for your holly plant successfully, make sure to provide it with adequate sunlight and water, and prune it at the end of nesting season. If you notice any nests, it is best to wait until the fledglings have flown before trimming.
Planting container-grown hollies can be done any time of year, but it’s best to do it in autumn, winter or spring. Start by digging a generous hole for your plant, incorporating plenty of well-rotted garden compost or organic matter into the soil. Carefully backfill and firm down the soil around the plant’s base, taking care not to damage the roots.
Once your holly is established, it will only need occasional watering during dry weather to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Mulching around the base of your plant can help to retain moisture and prevent weeds from growing.
Best Holly Varieties For Bees
English Holly – a beautiful, versatile plant that offers a wide range of benefits. With glossy, dark green leaves and bright red berries that last from early autumn into winter, this evergreen shrub makes an excellent choice for creating dense hedges that provide shelter and habitat for birds.
Blue Princess – perfect for gardens of all types. Its large, lustrous leaves are soft and spiny, with an elegant blue-green colour that looks stunning against the backdrop of bright flowers or other plants. In addition to its attractive foliage, this holly also produces glossy red berries in the autumn, which add a touch of seasonal beauty and enhance its ornamental value even further.
Argentea Marginata – ideal for gardeners looking for a striking plant. With its bright red berries and lustrous, spiny leaves, this holly adds vibrant colour to any landscape. In addition, its tough and adaptable nature makes it well-suited to both sunny urban gardens and coastal sites that are prone to pollution or salt exposure.
Golden King – a compact shrub with glossy leaves that feature striking grey-green mottled centres and bright golden-yellow margins. This versatile plant is ideal for gardeners, as it adds eye-catching colour and texture to any garden and can be used as a specimen plant in large, sunny borders or mixed shrub beds. Additionally, its reddish-brown berries add visual interest in autumn, when they ripen to a striking deep red colour.
Where To Buy Holly Bushes
Looking for high-quality holly bushes to add a splash of colour and festive flair to your garden? Look no further than Crocus.co.uk, the premier online source for all your gardening needs. With a wide selection of beautiful holly varieties available, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for.
If you are interested in supporting bees and other pollinators, consider adding holly bushes to your bee garden. These beautiful plants not only look great, but they can also help attract and support these important creatures by providing them with a safe, sheltered habitat. Holly bushes are also an excellent choice for gardens because they offer plenty of flowers and berries that provide food for bees and birds. Start growing holly in your garden today, and help play a key role in preserving the health and well-being of our pollinator friends. Bees love Holly.