Holly Bushes - Male/Female/Self Fertile

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Holly Bushes - Male/Female/Self Fertile

Postby mrsgarrett » 31 Jan 2007 16:33

I recently bought 2 holly bushes. One is a JC Tol which is a self fertile female and one is an Alaska which is female. I was told by the Garden Centre that they would both produce berries. I gather that a self fertile femaile does not need a male but now I'm not so sure as they are both female whether or not the Alaska needs a male if the other holly is self fertile. I wasn't confident with the information I was given by the Garden Centre. Can someone help before I plant them? Many thanks :?
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Postby gardening_guru » 03 Feb 2007 19:39

Hello Mrs Garrett,

My understanding of the term ‘self-fertile’ in relation to holly plants means that the cultivar in question, in this case ‘J.C. Van Tol’ is unusual amongst the Ilex genus because it bares both male and female flowers on the same plant. (very unusual in the Holly group). I suspect that this has come about through breeding and you probably would not find it with a naturally occurring species.
I am not familiar with the cultivar you mentioned called ‘Alaska’ but if it is female, you may find that the male flowers on your ‘J.C. Van Tol’ fertilise both its own female flowers and those of the ‘Alaska’, especially if they are planted in close proximity.
But to be absolutely sure of berries it might be worth choosing a separate male cultivar to plant with the other two. If you are planting informally, three plants will look better together as a group anyway.

Hope I have been of some help.

Regards, George.
George aka The Gardening Guru
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Postby mrsgarrett » 22 Feb 2007 11:20

Dear George

Many thanks for your reply. Very helpful.

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