To care for a holly shrub, plant the shrub in a sunlit area that drains well, water it on a weekly basis, use organic mulch to promote plant growth, and fertilize it during the fall. Also, prune the shrub lightly as desired, particularly after berry formation.
If an area that receives sunlight all through the day is unavailable, plant the holly shrub in a location that receives sunlight in the morning and shade in the afternoon. Ensure that water from rain or melted snow does not stagnate in the area, as this can cause the holly roots to rot.
Water the shrub when 2 inches of soil from the top appears dry. Add water to the trunk's base until the soil is moist to a depth of approximately 8 inches. During winter, do not irrigate holly when the surface is frozen.
Use chips of wood or compost to provide nutrients to the shrub and improve water retention in the soil. Apply 2 to 3 inches of the mulch over the soil around the bush. When applying mulch, maintain a gap of 2 inches between the trunk and the compost to prevent pests in the latter from damaging the bush.
Use an acid-based evergreen fertilizer in the amounts specified on the packaging for the holly shrub. Add fertilizer six weeks prior to the first anticipated fall frost.
To prevent the holly shrub from spreading wildly, prune it with gloved hands to the required shape by cutting extra branches while leaving a length of 1/4 inch near leaves and buds. Holly berries form during the winter, necessitating extensive pruning.