Green Holly Plant Bush leaves with a cluster of vibrant red berries

Holly Plant: A Holiday Favorite that Shines in Winter

You can’t have a holly, jolly Christmas without holly, after all! Learn more about this evergreen plant in all its tree, bush, and shrub forms.

There are some plants that are just synonymous with the winter holidays. Mistletoe, amaryllis, and Christmas trees aren’t the only stars of the season. You can’t have a holly, jolly Christmas without holly, after all! Learn more about this evergreen plant in all its tree, bush, and shrub forms.

What is Holly?

Even though it’s a holiday staple and a reliable source of outdoor color during the winter doldrums, you may be surprised to learn holly isn’t a single plant. Actually, the name covers about 600 different trees and shrubs in the Aquifoliaceae family that grow around the world. Many of the most immediately familiar varieties feature wavy, deep green leaves tipped with sharp spines and prominent, vibrantly red berries. These waxy, scarlet berries may look good enough to eat, but don’t be tempted; despite being a vital source of food in winter for a wide variety of birds, they are also known to be unsafe for humans.

English and American holly trees can grow in excess of 50 feet in height, covered in sharp leaves and fruits that can be either red or, less commonly, yellow in color. Chinese holly, Japanese holly and yaupon are bush varieties, reaching between 6 and 30 feet in height.

Why is Holly a Winter Holiday Tradition?

Have you ever wondered why Americans “deck the halls with boughs of holly,” as opposed to any other colorful plant capable of surviving winter climes? You may be surprised to find out that your holiday garlands and wreaths featuring holly so prominently has roots older than many beloved holiday traditions; all the way back to the time between 200BC and 14AD, when Rome ruled ancient Europe. During this time, holly’s splash of winter color through the shortest and coldest days of the year was seen as good luck through a harsh season. In fact, up through pre-Victorian times, pine trees were not the preferred species for Christmas trees at all; this honor belonged to holly bushes.

Bringing Holiday Cheer to Your Property Year-Round by Planting Holly

Decorating the outside of your home or business for the holidays is a big enough chore already. The addition of holly plants lets you reap the benefits of this December favorite all year round, and can make your work much easier when the winter holiday decorating season rolls back around.

Before you start ordering shrubs and digging holes in your lawn for holly trees, however, it pays to consult with a local expert arborist on the matter. Not all varieties of holly can thrive in the Front Range area, though those that can tend to show excellent resilience and hardiness. Non-native varieties tend to favor much more acidic soil with a higher moisture level more common to the Eastern part of the United States. Dry conditions and largely alkaline Colorado soil can present a challenge, which is where the help of an expert comes in so handy.

The knowledgeable and skilled professionals at Front Range Arborists understand the appeal and charm of this holiday favorite while understanding the importance of selecting the right variety for the region. Together, you can ensure your holly plants dazzle throughout the year while playing a starring role in your winter holiday decorations. Call or contact Front Range Arborists today to learn more about helping holly thrive in your lawn or garden.