Propagating Holly (Ilex aquifolium)?

zanana(z5 NH)April 8, 2005

Does some propagating genius out there have any information on how to propagate my Holly bush? I can't quite get the hang of propagating (except from seed), and I'd really like to propagate the prettiest Holly I've ever seen. The ones I find in garden centers just don't look as healthy. Any help would be appreciated--thanks!

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georgez5il(z5 IL)

Best time August through March.. Take a cutting of new growth apply 0.3% IBA (rooting hormone) stick in well drained soil & mist Bottom heat will help. rooting time 40-80 days

    Bookmark   April 8, 2005 at 6:27PM
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Ron_W(z6 NH)

Yeah, wait until the new growth is fully hardened. If you take them prematurely, they just wilt and die. Although, I have told that if you keep the humidity really high, you can take soft cuttings, but I have not had success with softies.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2005 at 8:42PM
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timgoodin(W KY z6)

Yes both responses from George and Ron are correct. Keep in mind some varities are easier to root than others. Do you have any idea of the name of this holly? Here is what I did two years ago. Build a small "bed" in the corner of the yard in a partially shaded location using concrete blocks or landscape timbers, 2' X 3' is plenty big for several cuttings, bury the blocks or timbers about 4-5" in the soil. Work in a bag of non salted builders sand, (be careful it is not beach sand as it contains salt) and a bag of a good quality potting soil. Sand will ensure drainage and some aeriation and the potting soil will provide some water retaining quality, nutrients etc. (good quality compost would work here also). Water it all in well and let set for a week or so to settle.

Take your cuttings about 5-6" of current season's growth that is hardening off for the summer. Depends on your location on when this occurs. Here in West KY it will be about end of June through July depending on weather and rainfall. Clip off about 1/2 of the lower leaves. I like to leave about 4 leaves on the cutting. don't let the cuttings dry out during this whole procedure. Dip into either a liquid rooting hormone or I used hormodin 3 for woody plants. (This stuff comes in different concentrations for soft plants and for woody's). Stick the cuttings in your bed, label each row if different types. Water in lightly, don't overwater. I then took softdrink bottles and stuck them in the soil inside the bed (anything will work, I just wanted something inside the bed to hold the plastic up off the cuttings). Cover the bed with a sheet of plastic and staple it to the landscape timbers keeping a tight fit to retain moisture. WARNING: If direct sun hits this your cuttings will cook in short order. I placed a shade cloth above the plastic so the heat would not buildup too bad in the bed. I have saw in some literature where a flap is cut in the plastic to help aeriate it, but this requires very close monitoring to be sure it stays moist. I monitor the cuttings every day for the first 2-3 days to be sure there is adeqate moisture on the plastic, when it looks dry water by unhooking the plastic and use your water hose to gently mist the plants and soil. You will get a feel for how much water is needed after 3-4 days. It took 6 weeks to see new growth on the cuttings. At that time I cut small openings in the plastic and increased watering daily until I could cut the holes larger until I could eventually take the plastic off. I mulched heavily with leaves in the fall and low and behold I now have 10 or so large 2-3' plants ready to plant out in my yard. Good Luck! Tim

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 9:27AM
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