Okinawa Holly is an ornamental tree whose green, serrated leaves make it a good bonsai candidate The Holly is native to the northern hemisphere, and flowers in spring and summer. The flowers are pink in color while the leaves are glossy green and toothed. It grows well in semi-shade, is easy to grow indoors, and is a favorite among bonsai lovers.
This plant needs a lot of water particularly before the fruit bearing period; otherwise the berries get damaged. It likes misting, but this should be avoided when the sun is full. Also, watering should be reduced during winter.
The best way to shape a Holly is through pruning. Wiring should be avoided because it can hurt the trunk, and damage the branches which are quite brittle. Cutting new shoots close to the trunk assures good shape. Holly’s leaves too can be pruned to reduce their size.
Most species of Holly can be styled and sized in different ways barring the evergreen species that does not respond favorably to broom style. While pruning attention must be paid to growth patterns. Some species of Holly show horizontal growth while others grow upwards. Pruning and wiring should be done corresponding to these tendencies.
Propagation of the Holly is not difficult. The deciduous variety can be propagated by any of the three methods – cuttings, air-layering and seeds; the evergreen variety responds better to cuttings because besides needing cold pre-treatment, the seeds take up to three years to sprout. Cuttings taken from one year old plants root well and grow easily. The plants can also be re-potted every 1 to 2 years during the spring and summer months.
The plant is prone to diseases like twig gall, and fungus infection and is attacked by pests, caterpillars and leaf spots, and needs regular checks and treatment.