Holly shrub – male vs female

(Question)

Hello, I recently purchased a female Holly shrub (Red Beauty). It states for best results in bearing berries, it needs to be planted near a male plant. I have in my garden a “blue” holly plant that stated it was already a mixture of male and female. Is this a suitable plant to help the female bear berries? If so, how close does it need to be?

(Answer)

Ilex “Red Beauty” is a gorgeous holly, both in its shape and in its abundant fruit.  Because your “Red Beauty” plant is a female, in order to produce berries it must be pollinated by a male blue holly.  So your existing holly plant mix – perhaps it is the very popular “Blue Prince/Blue Princess” holly – should work.  There are various opinions on proximity: some writers recommend less than 40 feet away, while others say that pollination can occur if the plants are within 100 to 400 feet of each other.  All the best for a spectacular winter display.