Q: Will you please clarify for me the proper pollinator for my ‘Winter Red’ holly? ‘Jim Dandy’ was recommended as the male pollinator, but after more research I planted ‘Apollo’ in its place. Now I read that the proper pollinator should be ‘Southern Gentleman’.
A: I think you are splitting hairs. ‘Winter Red’ will get plenty of properly timed pollen from any of the three male choices.
Fred Galle’s authoritative book “Hollies” (Timber Press, $60.00), cites three year notes from Indiana showing that the female holly ‘Winter Red’ flowered continuously between June 1 and June 14. The male ‘Apollo’ flowered between June 5 and June 20. The male ‘Jim Dandy’ flowered between May 25 and June 8. ‘Southern Gentleman’ is not noted but a publication from the University of Connecticut states that it is a late blooming male pollinator for ‘Winter Red’.
An equally important factor to getting lots of holly berries is having enough pollinating insects. Be sure to plant mint, agastache, dill, fennel, pentas and other pollinator attracting flowers near your hollies.