Potted Holly Plant
(Image credit: PIKSEL)

The shiny green leaves and bright red berries of holly (Ilex spp.) are nature’s own holiday décor. We know a lot about decking the halls with holly, but how about holly as a houseplant? Can you grow holly indoors? Growing holly inside is definitely an option, although a few special rules and procedures apply. Read on for the whole scoop.

Can You Grow Holly Indoors?

Holly as a houseplant is an intriguing idea, especially around the holidays. The easiest and fastest way to accomplish this is to purchase a potted plant at the garden store. These plants are already used to growing indoors so will be right at home in your house.

You may be able to find English holly (Ilex aquifolium), a popular plant in Europe. However, you are more likely to come across native American holly (Ilex opaca). Both are woody plants with glossy green leaves and red berries.

Growing Holly Inside

If you are a DIY type, you may prefer to create your own holly plant from seeds or cuttings. When growing holly indoors though, it’s best not to try to propagate holly from seeds, since these can prove difficult to germinate. It can take many years for a seeding to sprout.

How about a cutting? You can find plants at a greenhouse or plant nursery that are used to indoor heating, obtain a cutting and try to root it in water. However, you aren’t likely to get those festive berries. Holly plants are either male or female and you’ll need both to get berries, plus pollinator insects. That’s why your best bet is purchasing a plant already with berries.

Indoor Holly Care

Once you have your holly houseplant, you’ll need to learn about indoor holly care. The best placement for growing holly indoors is in a sunporch or a room with a sunny bay window. Holly requires some sun.

Keep the soil just moist. Don’t let it dry out or get soggy. You’ll be able to decorate the little holly tree at Christmas time. The rest of the year, just treat it like a houseplant.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.