Holly bush (Ilex paraguariensis) is one of the most popular plants in the world. It grows wild all over the world, but it’s not very common here in the United States. Most people only see them growing along roadsides or other areas where they are easy to reach. They have been used for centuries as ornamental shrubbery and as a medicinal herb, both of which make up their main use today.
The plant itself is native to South America, but it was brought to North America by European settlers. Native Americans often used the leaves of the plant for medicine and as a tea. They believed that drinking the tea would cure various ailments such as coughs, colds, sore throats, and even diarrhea.
Many people still believe in its healing powers today!
In Europe, holly bush is known as Ilex vomitoria. The plant is called “holly” because of the red berries that grow on it. These berries contain a chemical called hesperidin, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Other uses include treating skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, as well as helping relieve pain associated with arthritis and muscle spasms.
When grown properly, holly bush produces large numbers of flowers each year. Each flower can be pollinated with the right insects. Given this, it’s easy to see why they grow so easily in more rural areas.
The berries also grow quite large if the plant is left alone, which is often a favorite food for birds and small mammals. Native Americans used the berries in various ways as food source. They were often eaten right off the bush or were stored for later use by drying them out in the sun and placing them in bags or jars.
If you’re looking for a fun plant to grow that has many benefits, holly bush is something you should consider. They are easy to grow from cuttings and with a little bit of upkeep, the plants will thrive and provide nutritious berries for your use year after year.
Here are some tips on how to grow holly bush from cuttings:
1. Find a healthy, mature holly bush growing in the wild.
The best time of year to do this is during the fall or winter months, as this is when the berries are ripe for picking.
2. Cut a long, straight branch from the holly bush that has multiple tips on it.
Cut off as many tips as you want to grow. Make sure each cutting has at least one node on it.
3. Take your cuttings back home and allow them to dry for at least three days.
4. On the fourth day, place your cuttings in water.
The nodes will start to split and form roots after several weeks.
5. Plant the cuttings in a pot filled with potting soil.
Be sure the nodes are under the soil.
6. Water your new holly bush cuttings regularly.
You can start harvesting berries after one full growing season.
You don’t need much light for your holly bushes to grow well. A sunny windowsill or a spot next to a bright door that is opened frequently will work just fine. You can fertilize your plants monthly with a water-soluble fertilizer to promote growth and keep the soil healthy.
Keep an eye on pest infestations, as these plants are prone to getting eaten by bugs like spider mites if they aren’t cared for properly.
Cuttings will take around three months to grow roots. You can then transplant them to a larger pot or outdoor garden and they will start growing much more rapidly.
Holly bush is great for those that want to try their hand at gardening but don’t have much space. It only grows to be a few feet tall so it doesn’t require much attention and it yields multiple berries per season. It’s a win-win situation!
Sources & references used in this article:
Hollies in Wisconsin by PJ Salamun – 1970 – dc.uwm.edu
American wildlife & plants: a guide to wildlife food habits: the use of trees, shrubs, weeds, and herbs by birds and mammals of the United States by AC Martin, HS Zim, AL Nelson – 1961 – books.google.com
Predicting shrub ecophysiology in the Great Basin Desert using spectral indices by DG Hessayon – 1997 – Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.
An illustrated guide to care of ornamental trees and shrubs| cby FS Batson, RO Monosmith. by JH Dick – 1917 – AT De La Mare Company …
Habitat management for the eastern massasauga in a central New York peatland by AB Griffith, H Alpert, ME Loik – Journal of arid environments, 2010 – Elsevier
Taylor’s Guide to Shrubs: How to Select and Grow More Than 500 Ornamental and Useful Shrubs for Privacy, Ground Covers, and Specimen Plantings by FS Batson, RO Monosmith – 1941 – ir.library.msstate.edu
New England Gardener’s Handbook: All You Need to Know to Plan, Plant & Maintain a New England Garden by G Johnson, DJ Leopold – The Journal of wildlife management, 1998 – JSTOR
The shrubs and woody vines of Florida: a reference and field guide by K Fisher – 2000 – books.google.com