Pruning Holly


I have a “pair” of holly bushes planted in part sun, but struggle to know how and when to prune them.  Would you provide some guidance on the best time and techniques for me to use?


Hollies (Ilex) are a large genus with more than 400 species including climbers, shrubs and trees, and can be either evergreen or deciduous plants, with their native habitats being woodland regions all over the world.  They are loved for their often glossy leaves and red berries that provide winter interest.

Hollies that are hardy to our Toronto climate are our Native Winterberry, Ilex verticillata and cultivars, Blue holly, Ilex x messervae and cultivars, and Inkberry, Ilex glabra and its cultivars.  Each of these species belong to a different Holly type, that calls for different pruning techniques.

Below, you will find a link to a good article from Fine Gardening Magazine which will inform you about the best time to prune hollies, give you specific pruning instructions, and hopefully help you determine what type of holly your plants belong to.