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Holly problems (Photo).

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ripplyuk
ripplyuk Posts: 2,891 Forumite
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This Holly seems to have shed a lot of it’s leaves and now looks very sparse. Is it dying? It has sentimental value so I’d really like to save it. Could it be lack of water? It’s been so wet here I didn’t water it but maybe it wasn’t getting enough. I’ve been drenching it for the last few days but I’m not sure if that’s the right thing to do since I don’t know what’s wrong with it. It has slow release fertiliser granules as well as liquid feed when I water it.

Is the pot too small? Would planting it out in the garden revive it? I’ve been reluctant to do that because I’m worried the roots will damage any pipework/foundations. I know Hollies grow big. Also it looks nice at the front of the house in the pot; or at least it did until now. 


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  • sheramber
    sheramber Posts: 19,529 Forumite
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    How long has it been in the pot?

    What type of compost is it planted in?


  • ripplyuk
    ripplyuk Posts: 2,891 Forumite
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    edited 22 June 2022 at 7:23PM
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    @sheramber It’s been in the pot since I bought it, about 4yrs ago. The compost is John Innes No 3. 

    ETA: The roots have been cut back each year. 
  • theoretica
    theoretica Posts: 12,385 Forumite
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    Potted trees need much more water than those in the ground - it could well need water when those in the ground don't.  After 4 years growth it might be glad of a larger pot too.  As you have been trimming the roots, is the compost new or 4 years old?
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  • sheramber
    sheramber Posts: 19,529 Forumite
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    The food store is in the roots so cutting back the roots may be starving the bush.

    Pruning the top would be better if it grows too big.

    Personally, I would repot it in a bigger pot with fresh compost and some slow release fertiliser or plant it out in the garden.

    Do you know what type of holly it is as apparently some are not suitable for  growing in a container.
  • greyteam1959
    greyteam1959 Posts: 4,592 Forumite
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    Evergreens sometimes have a period of shedding some leaves.

  • MalMonroe
    MalMonroe Posts: 5,783 Forumite
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    edited 23 June 2022 at 12:14AM
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    The pot is far too small, yes!  *ahem* that is to say, I do not have green thumbs by any means but that pot looks far too small.

    It's trying to tell you by shedding leaves - or as some might call it - crying.

    Here's some info - https://www.lovethegarden.com/uk-en/article/holly-ilex#:~:text=Once planted and properly established,soil with a thick mulch.

    Please help your holly!  Thank you.

    P.S. Don't prune or trim until its 'dormant phase' - late winter/early spring. 
    Please note - taken from the Forum Rules and amended for my own personal use (with thanks) : It is up to you to investigate, check, double-check and check yet again before you make any decisions or take any action based on any information you glean from any of my posts. Although I do carry out careful research before posting and never intend to mislead or supply out-of-date or incorrect information, please do not rely 100% on what you are reading. Verify everything in order to protect yourself as you are responsible for any action you consequently take.
  • ripplyuk
    ripplyuk Posts: 2,891 Forumite
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    Potted trees need much more water than those in the ground - it could well need water when those in the ground don't.  After 4 years growth it might be glad of a larger pot too.  As you have been trimming the roots, is the compost new or 4 years old?
    The compost is new-ish. A few months old. I change it every year, around early March. 
  • ripplyuk
    ripplyuk Posts: 2,891 Forumite
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    edited 23 June 2022 at 7:08AM
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    sheramber said:
    The food store is in the roots so cutting back the roots may be starving the bush.

    Pruning the top would be better if it grows too big.

    Personally, I would repot it in a bigger pot with fresh compost and some slow release fertiliser or plant it out in the garden.

    Do you know what type of holly it is as apparently some are not suitable for  growing in a container.
    This one is ‘Pyramidalis’. I was told it was ideal for containers and patio gardens but maybe they meant temporarily. 

    I prune the top as well as the roots. I was told if the roots aren’t trimmed it will outgrow the pot. Is that wrong? 
  • ripplyuk
    ripplyuk Posts: 2,891 Forumite
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    @MalMonroe I’m not so sure now. I found this photo online. It’s the exact same variety. My pot is much bigger than these canvas wraps and look at the size of those hollies! 




  • sheramber
    sheramber Posts: 19,529 Forumite
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    These have probably been grown in the ground until they were potted up for sale?
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