Tips on growing Christmas holly to guarantee a ‘bountiful’ flourish of berries

This Morning: David Domoney's advice on house plants

If you’re thinking about swapping out your poinsettia for a holly plant, an expert has shared how to best care for it over the Christmas period.

Sean Lade, a gardening expert and director of Easy Garden Irrigation, said: “Holly plants achieve optimal growth in areas receiving full sunlight or are slightly shaded, and they prefer well-drained, moist soil enriched with ample organic matter.

“Avoid planting in solid chalk content. To encourage longevity and continued growth, maintain the soil to ensure it is well-drained, helping prevent root rot’s onset.

“Planting holly bushes is particularly enjoyable during the festive season.”

Ideally, Britons should plant them in autumn, winter or spring, starting by making a hole which is around 60x60cm and about 30cm deep.

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Make sure to enrich the soil at this stage with organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure. The expert continued: “Nest the roots securely at their original depth and ensure they sit comfortably at the soil surface.

“Further enhancement of the soil with organic matter, coupled with thorough watering to prevent drying out, sets the stage for optimal growth.

“To nurture these green companions further, apply a general feed around the base and cover the soil with a generous layer of mulch or bark clippings.

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“For those intending to create a holly hedge, a planting distance of 60cm ensures an evenly spaced boundary, providing aesthetic appeal and privacy.”

Once established hollies require minimal care and watering, except for during prolonged dry periods in the summer, especially when they are young.

Britons should also make sure to prune their hollies at any convenient time, according to the expert. However, this simple task will be particularly rewarding in spring, promising a “bountiful” outcome of berries.

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Another popular plant is the poinsettia, known for its gorgeous red leaves which can also last for several months.

Poinsettias should be kept in a draught-free spot with bright, indirect sunlight at a temperature of around 13C to 15C, making sure this stays consistent.

Make sure to keep them away from any direct heat sources such as radiators or they could die.

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