Beautiful berries in yellow, orange and red. That’s what Ilex is known for. A lot of work must be done before the berry branches can sparkle in the vase. By the growers and the bees. Because without bees, they’ll be no berries!
Ilex is cultivated outdoors where the cut shrubs grow in the field. The shrubs flower once every two years. The modest white flowers that appear in spring are more important than their size suggests. Each flower can grow into a colourful berry, but then it must be pollinated. And that’s what the bees do. The growers often place beehives between the shrubs so there are enough pollinators flying around. Get to work!
Once the flowers have been pollinated by the bees, they grow into beautiful berries during the summer. The berry branches can be harvested in late summer and autumn. That must be done before the birds pounce on them; they love the berries! Sometimes growers put up nets over the bushes to keep the birds away. After harvesting, the leaves are removed from the branches to make the berries stand out even more. And then it’s finally time for the berries to sparkle in the vase.
Only the female Ilex bushes form berries. Every nursery also has male bushes because they are needed for pollination and berry production.
Trim the branch with a sharp knife or pruning shears. If necessary, remove the lower berries so they are not in the water. Put the branches in a clean vase with clean water and some cut flower food if you wish. And enjoy the berry splendour!