Hollies are common landscape plants and even more common holiday decorations that belong to the incredibly diverse genus Ilex which contains over 400 species, both evergreen and deciduous, that hail from all corners of the globe. 

A locally adapted holly species or cultivar is relatively easy to grow and they are fairly disease and insect free. They are incredibly prunable, with dormant buds at the ready to fill in and many do quite well with rejuvenation near ground level if their canopy needs an overall reset. 

assorted cut evergreen trees and wreaths for sale at a market

This time of year, many folks have questions while searching for the perfect Christmas tree.  In recent years, I have written several blog posts on this topic, covering various aspects of Christmas tree care, identification, selection, and sustainability. Take a look at our collection of past blogs posts below to learn more information about one of the most common holiday plants.

Each year, millions of fresh cut Christmas trees are sold across the country adding to the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  Have you ever considered the sustainability of a fresh cut tree versus an artificial tree?  Fake trees can last for many years, but what is the impact of their production?  A cut tree likely takes less to produce, but is it a bad thing to cut a tree down?

White pine needles are in bundles of 5.

Evergreen foliage has long been a traditional holiday decoration since it encapsulates the green of the growing season well beyond the first frosts.  The hol

Snake plant is a very common houseplant that is easy to care for making it an excellent plant gift for your Valentine this year.

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, many of us are seeking floral gifts to express our affection for family, friends, and significant others.  While nothing beats the spectacular blooms and intricate arrangements that cut flowers offer, we all know their lifespan is limited.  This year, consider a much longer-lived houseplant as gift that will continue to add lush greenery and even beautiful blooms for years to come.

Poinsettias are one of the most popular holiday plants in the US.

Poinsettias are a symbol of the holidays that have adorned wintertime homes in the US since their rise in popularity almost 200 years ago.  These gorgeous plants are native to Mexico and naturally reach full bloom near the holidays, making them a ubiquitous plant of the holiday season.  On average, they account for about one quarter of all potted plants sold in the US each year.  With all this popularity, it is surprising to me that there are a number of misconceptions or myths surrounding this plant.

Thanksgiving brings us a feast that, for many gardeners and naturalists, signifies the final harvest and close of the growing season. As we draw further away from the growing season and nearer to the winter solstice, many of us turn our focus to bringing light and greenery into our homes. Whether it is candles, twinkling lights, wreaths, garlands, or trees, these holiday traditions span centuries and cross many cultures.

Hollies are symbolic of the holiday season, providing beauty in the landscape as well as abundant berries for native birds. Photo Credit: Diane Plewa, Illinois Extension Plant Clinic

Broad-leafed and evergreen holly species have long been a symbol of Christmas and other winter holidays and traditions.  The dark green, prickly foliage combined with contrasting bright red berries can really be a show stopper in the winter landscape providing both ornamental beauty and food for wildlife as berries persist into winter.