Ilex Aquifolium 'Common Holly Bush' Seeds

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Ilex aquifolium is one of Britain's few native evergreen trees. Commonly associated with Christmas, it has distinctive leaves and bright red berries which provide year round interest.

Holly is a dioecious species meaning it has separate male and female plants. White flowers appear in May and pollination is generally carried out by bees and other insects. The berries emerge on female plants around November, ripening red and providing a good source of food for birds (if not used for Christmas decorations first). The leaves are about 5-8cm long, dark glossy green and leathery. On the lower parts of the plant they have spines along the margin pointing upwards and downwards alternately. The foliage on the upper limbs of the plant, above grazing level, are usually smoother.

Ilex aquifolium is a slow growing shrub or small tree, rarely exceeding 10m, although in few circumstances has been known to reach 20m. This plant is able to adapt to different conditions, will grow on almost any well drained soil, and is extremely tolerant of shady conditions.

Pretty Wild Seeds are registered with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) under number 7529, so you can have confidence in both our products and advice. Although our products are listed in weights and acres, we can supply in additional quantities upon enquiry so if you need a larger supply, please don't hesitate to give us a call.


  • 25 seeds for £3.95
  • 50 seeds for £6.99
  • 100 seeds for £8.99
  • 500 seeds for £28.99
  • Quantities from: £2.25

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    The Ilex Aquifolium 'Common Holly Bush' Seeds is shown in Bush, Tree & Shrubs.

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    We happily accept returns within 14 days from date of delivery. All returns must be received in the same condition and packaging we sent them. Postage charges will not be refunded on unwanted products.

    You are solely responsible for ensuring the goods are returned to us. We will not be liable for returns that are lost in the post or lost for any other reason. If a product arrives damaged we will advise the customer how to return the item with all return costs covered by us.  Replacements & refunds will be dispatched / issued on receipt of the returned items only.

    Holly Tree seeds have a very deep dormancy within them, this requires a degree of patience to overcome.

    First prepare a free draining substrate into which the seeds are to be mixed, this can be a 50/50 mixture of compost and sharp sand, or perlite, vermiculite. The chosen substrate needs to be moist (but not wet), if you can squeeze water out of it with your hand it is too wet and your seeds may drown and die.

    Mix the seeds into the substrate, making sure that their is enough volume of material to keep the seeds separated. Place the seed mixture into a clear plastic bag (freezer bags, especially zip-lock bags are very useful for this -provided a little gap is left in the seal for air exchange) If it is not a zip-lock type bag it needs to be loosely tied.

    Write the date on the bag so that you know when the pre-treatment was started. The seeds first require a period of warm pre-treatment and need to be kept in temperatures of 20 Celsius (68F) for a period of around 40 weeks - it is not critical if it lasts a week or two longer than this. During this time make sure that the pre-treatment medium does not dry out at any stage or it will be ineffective!

    Next the seeds require a cold period to break the final part of the dormancy, this is easily achieved by placing the bag in the fridge at (4 Celsius or 39F) for at least 24 weeks (although it can take longer for signs of germination to show). It is quite possible for the seeds to germinate in the bag at these temperatures when they are ready to do so, if they do, just remove them from the bag and carefully plant them up. When the period of pre treatment has finished the seed should be ready to be planted.

    Small quantities can be sown in pots or seed trays filled with a good quality compost and cover them with a thin layer of compost no more than 1 cm deep. For larger quantities it is easiest to sow the seeds in a well prepared seedbed outdoors once the warm and cold pre-treatments have finished and wait for the seedlings to appear.

    It has also been found that fluctuating pre-treatment temperatures that mimic the natural cycle can give the best germination results and I have myself had excellent results by keeping the mixed seeds in a cold shed through the winter for the cold stage of their pretreatment and allowing the temperature to fluctuate naturally. Ungerminated seeds can have the whole warm and cold process repeated again to enable more seeds to germinate.

    ​Fresh seedlings can keep germinating for up to 5 years after the original sowing date.

    Do not expose newly sown seeds to high temperatures (above 25 Celsius). Keep the seedlings well watered and weed free. Growth in the first year is usually between 5 and 10 cm depending on the time of germination and cultural techniques and developing seedlings are usually trouble free. Growth rate will increase during the second and subsequent years.

    Allow them to grow for 2 or 3 years before planting them in a permanent position.