Holly grows best in full sun. While it will tolerate some shade, a tree located in shade may be less compact and produce fewer berries. It is also vulnerable to leaf spot diseases if planted in shady, humid locations. A well-drained loamy soil that is fairly light, sandy, and acidic to neutral (pH 5.8 to 7.0) is ideal for most Holly. Soils having higher pH (alkaline) cause poor growth and induce chlorosis (loss of green leaf color).
Plant male and female Hollies within 300 feet of each other, and in a ratio of 1 male to 3 female plants to ensure a good crop of berries.