7 Reasons For Holly Leaves Turning Yellow

With their evergreen foliage hollies will always make your garden beautiful through all four seasons. Holly plants (​Ilex​ spp.) are usually native to North America, Europe, and North Africa. The leaves of the plant are usually bright and green and when they turn yellow it can be a signal of a cultural problem. This article will discuss the causes and solutions of holly leaves turning yellow as well as how to effectively grow holly plants.

Causes and Solutions of Holly leaves turning yellow

Here are some of the most causes of holly leaves turning yellow and their solutions:

1. Chlorosis

Holly leaves turning yellow can be a symptom of chlorosis. Iron deficiency is the common cause of chlorosis This is mainly brought by high pH levels in the soils that make the soil too alkaline and hence make it difficult for the roots to absorb iron. The severity of the chlorosis condition will determine how yellow the leaves will become. In extreme cases of iron deficiency, the Holly may yellow and die in one season. It is important to note that the high pH levels in the soil will make it almost impossible for the plant to absorb iron and the yellowing of leaves will mean the absence of chlorophyll which may ultimately lead to the plant drying up.


To solve this problem you first need to evaluate the soil pH level. You can do this by taking a sample of soil, dissolving it, and measuring the pH. If the pH level is found to be higher than 6 then consider adjusting the soil pH level to a neutral value (5.5). Secondly, add a high-quality fertilizer that contains iron, such as rock phosphate or perlite. This will help in getting more nutrients from your plants and hence increase the foliage color. The amount of fertilizer to be added will depend on the nutrient demands of your plant. If you notice that the plant is experiencing iron deficiency but its soil pH level is neutral then you may consider adding iron chelate to your soil.


Maintaining a consistent pH level can prevent the plant from suffering chlorosis. The presence of high levels of elements such as iron, magnesium, and manganese are required for the health of the holly plant. It is important to note that to prevent chlorosis completely you should always maintain a neutral pH level in your soil. Always make sure you understand the pH levels of the soil before beginning your gardening.

2. Watering problems either excessive water or lack of enough water

Too much or too little water is among the main causes of holly leaves turning yellow. When the leaves are too dry they become dehydrated and stressed. When the dryness is prolonged, it may cause the leaves to turn yellow and eventually die. Too much water may also lead to problems. In most cases, excess water makes its way into the soil and makes the plant unable to obtain other nutrients. Too much water can also lead to root rot which can weaken the plant as well as stimulate leaf and root diseases.


Irrigation is an important part of most garden plants. Even when it rains, some plants may need more than the rainfall is giving them. Look at your plant closely to determine how much water it needs and work out a schedule for you to water your plant appropriately. If your holly leaves are turning yellow when watered then do not water the plant until its soil dries out completely. To determine whether it is time for additional watering, use your fingers to feel the soil. When the soil at the top of the plant dries out and begins to feel silky then it is time to water.


Irrigation can be controlled using a timer and sprinkler so you will be able to water your plants at specific times. Always check the soil before watering so that you know when the soil will need more moisture.

3.Transplant Shock

If your holly has been in the same spot for too long and is too old, it can become stressed out and easily susceptible to transplant shock. When the plant receives a new environment, it is often struggling to adjust. This is because transplants lack extensive root systems. Yellowing of the leaves due to transplant shock will first begin with the scorching of the leaves. The worst part is that you may not even notice until one day the plant is completely dead.


You must avoid transplanting holly until at least two years of age. If you do decide to choose to transplant, make sure the root ball is well moistened when you place it in its new location. This will give your plant more roots and help it adjust quickly.


Select a bush that is small in size and also one with a robust root system. Also, wait for a couple of years so that your bush has grown longer roots and this will help you avoid problems of transplant shock.

4. scale insects

Scale insects are very common pests and they will attack your hollies’ leaves and damage them. Scale insects like to live on holly leaves and will suck the juices out of the leaves as well as spread a host of diseases that can kill your tree. This is one of the main causes for holly leaves turning yellow. The scale insects are always hard, with brown or white bumps that appear on your plant. These bumps will be surrounded by a sticky substance called honeydew which can easily be seen. Scale insects are very hard to get rid of once they have infested your plant.


The best way to treat the scale insects is by applying a systemic insecticide. This will kill the scale insects and will also protect your plant from future infestations. There are also insecticidal soaps that you can make and apply to your plant to kill off the-scale insects.

For severe infestations of scale insects, it is recommended that you remove the infected leaves or branches and discard them away from your home.


It is possible to prevent scale insects from infesting your plants by using protective sprays that contain soaps. The soap will kill the insects and it will also act as a repellent. Once the bugs have been eliminated, remove the dead leaves and branches and dispose of them away from your home.

5. Fungi

Fungi can also be a very common cause for yellowing of the leaves. Fungi that attack holly are very small, translucent, and have a shiny appearance to them. They will appear in areas of your plant that have been damaged or cut off by people while they trim the tree. However, they do not cause damage to the root system. Fungi problems usually attack older leaves and they produce their spores on the leaves.


The best method to treat the infected leaves is to try and remove them. The areas that appear damaged should be cut off the branches and thrown away. You should also apply a fungicide that can prevent the fungi from spreading throughout your tree.


It is very important to keep the holly pruned so that the damaged leaves are in a safe place. You should avoid any practice that will create wounds in your plants when they are young. Always make sure that your plant is planted in the right conditions and pruned the right way and on time.

6. Chemicals

Many plants become very susceptible to chemicals. When holly are planted in a crowded area and are constantly sprayed with chemicals, the resulting chemical residue on their leaves can cause yellowing of leaves. When the chemical is used for weed control or it is used to kill insects and it makes its way inside the plant, it will make its way into the root systems causing cell damage.

This is also one of the major causes of yellowing of the leaves on holly.


Many chemicals can be used to control insects and other things in the environment. However, make sure that the chemicals that you use are safe for your plants. Do not spray chemicals at a high temperature because this can damage the plant in ways that may not be evident right away. You should also try to avoid over-spraying the leaves because this can also damage your plant.


Plant your holly away from other plants so that they will not be affected by the chemicals being sprayed around. Also, try to avoid using chemicals as much as you can because they can be very damaging to your plants or to humans and animals. While organic farming is hard it is one of the best solutions against the use of insecticides and herbicides.

7. Weather

Weather conditions can be a very big factor in yellowing leaves on your holly. When there is too much or too little sun or when the temperatures are very high or very cold, then your plant is at risk of getting damaged by extreme weather.

When it comes to heat, the holly will do best and will tolerate the heat from mid-day to late afternoon when the temperature does not exceed 90 °F (32 °C). However, heat is a concern when the plant is young and still growing as it may cause phytotoxicity which has been documented to occur when Hollies are exposed to temperatures above 50 °C (122 °F) for one week or longer.


It is very important to know the weather conditions that your area experiences. Take temperature readings and make sure that there are days when you can let your plant rest in the shade. Once you find out what is best for you, make sure that you keep up with the weather changes.


Ensure that your holly is planted in the right place so that it will not be damaged by extreme weather. Make sure it gets enough light for healthy growth and also give it enough water to keep it fresh.

How to effectively grow holly plants

Holly plants are very versatile and easy to grow. They can be used to decorate your garden or you can plant them in pots and baskets and place them indoors as décor. Below are instructions on how you can easily grow holly plants for your home décor needs.

If you want to grow holly in your home or outside the house, ensure that you choose the right species that will do well in your area. The choice of species will determine how well the plant will survive in its environment.

1. Soil

Soil for holly plants is different from a lot of other plants. Because hollies are almost entirely composed of atopia, the roots of the plant become brittle when they are grown in wet soil. This usually causes the plant to die, so all you need is well-drained, sandy soil that has some organic matter and a rich supply of nutrients. The ideal conditions include 60% clay and 20% sand. The soil should stay moist but not wet. You can also add some fertilizer to help the plant thrive.

The best time of year to plant holly is during spring or early summer when the plants are dormant. If you plant them during this time, they will have time to grow a little bit before winter comes around.

2. Watering

It is very important to keep your holly plants watered regularly for them to grow strong and healthy. Water it with a soaker hose that is placed in a drip irrigation system if possible. Put the hose on the lowest setting and let it run for at least an hour to allow the water to soak into the soil. The plants should be watered every two to three days depending on the weather conditions. Also, make sure that you take care of any drainage issues by fixing any hard spots that are developing around the plant.

3. Pruning

Holly plants should be pruned correctly to promote healthy growth. Never trim the plants when they are still young as this can cause them to become damaged. Instead, wait until they are adult size and then trim the excess dead branches. You should wait until the plants are about 2–4 years old before pruning. The best time to prune is in the spring or when buds are formed on the plant. You can also remove a few branches from lower down on the plant if you wish to increase airflow between leaves,

4. Maintenance

Controlling pests and diseases can be done with the help of fungicides and insecticidal soaps. Hand pick any insects or bugs that are on your plant. But make sure not to overapply the pesticides. Try to make sure that your plant does not get hit by strong winds and keep it well-watered.

Hollies are used to make a variety of decorations, such as wreaths, garlands, and Christmas trees. The flowers of holly can be used on a wide range of occasions. They can be used during Christmas to decorate the Christmas tree or on a variety of other occasions that involve holidays. The flowers are also used to make wreaths and garlands. It is important to ensure that these plants are well taken care of to ensure that they maintain their bright lively colors and fruition.

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