Holly is an excellent evergreen shrub for a wildlife garden. It has tough, prickly, glossy, dark green leaves and can grow into a relatively tall tree.
Male and female flowers are on separate shrubs; for a female shrub to produce berries, it must be pollinated by a male growing nearby. Holly appears frequently in folklore and is commonly associated with Christmas.
It grows in any soil and copes well with full sun or shade.
Animals that benefit
- Bees and bumblebees collect its nectar and pollen.
- Caterpillars of the holly blue butterfly eat its buds and flowers.
- Many birds, such as thrushes, robins, dunnocks, finches and goldcrests, use it for nesting as it provides excellent protection.
- Blackbirds, fieldfares, redwings, mistle and song thrushes, among others, eat the berries.
- Hedgehogs, small mammals, toads and slow worms hibernate in the deep leaf litter that builds up beneath it.