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By Bernard

Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom Gb

Holly berries.

We inherited several holly bushes when we bought this property and I assumed they were all male as none produced any berries. Working on that assumption we bought a couple more - guaranteed to be female - and expected that they might get quite excited as they were surrounded by males!
Today I noticed that the two females were absolutely smothered in berries, indicating that they were happy to be there.
I took a look at the 'males' wondering how the pollen would be produced and discovered that they also had flowers which I had never noticed before - not very many - thereby torpedoing my theory that only the females had flowers and making me wonder if all the bushes were female. Thoroughly confused amateur gardener retires to computer hoping that GoY members can resolve the confusion, ie how can I determine the sex of the existing bushes, and could I try a bit of artificial insemination (with the curtains drawn of course). Does every female flower need to be fertilised to produce berries?
I hope I'm not presuming too much on your good nature by asking a fairly complex question.



Hollies tend to have male flowers on one plant and female flowers on another. So, you can have flowers on both sexes. The male produces pollen and the female then has the berries of the bees have done their jobs. There are a few cultivars where male and female flowers are produced on the same bush and these are better berry producers when planted on their own.

23 Apr, 2011


Agree with Owdboggy - they're similar to Skimmia, where there are male and female plants - both flower, but only the females produce berries.

23 Apr, 2011


i read in a magazine that one male tree, (with the help of bees, of course!) can provide enough to fertilize about 70 females......

24 Apr, 2011


I think you can be fairly sure that your originals were all males. You don't have to do anything to fertiize the females except stand back and enjoy the berries!

24 Apr, 2011

How do I say thanks?

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