Holly Jolly Cutting just doesn’t have the right ring to it does it? Ah but here it does! Despite the awful Christmas pun it is pretty exciting to see my new holly cutting coming to life! It is probably the Buford holly (Ilex cornuta) which is a popular one in the home landscape. We actually have four of them left out in out front area off the porch that came with the house. One other holly met an early demise courtesy of the early thaw and late frost of 2007.
This past year my greatest excitement in gardening has come when propagating something new and finding that what I did actually it worked. One day in late summer I thought “what else can I practice propagating with?” The hollies looked like good candidates. So without waiting for the latest straw poll from Iowa I took two cuttings from the holly bushes.
The cuttings were mostly greenwood and it was a little later in the season than I probably should have taken greenwood cuttings but most of gardening is an experiment so why not?. Every time you try something new you learn something even if you fail. The two cuttings I made were about 7 inches long. I stripped many of the leaves off and placed them in sand after an initial root hormone application. It’s pretty much the standard procedure used in propagating most cuttings. In fact, I treated it the same as I did the Burning Bush cutting I posted about a couple days ago. When I checked my cuttings the other day I found short little root stubs protruding from the stem of one of the cuttings. Here in the picture you can see the roots. I’ve been keeping them in our garage in a semi-sheltered location. If I had a way to create some bottom heat, like with a heat mat, they would root faster. It’s feet are very small, perhaps only a centimeter in length but that’s how it all starts. One little bit at a time. Its companion cutting has not rooted yet but still shows lots of green on its leaves. It may take a little longer than its running mate to come around!
One quick general note about hollies. Since hollies are dioecious you need to have a male plant to pollinate the female plant’s flowers to produce berries.