I recently purchased 3 Rock Garden Hollies from a store selling them outside during the Christmas Holiday. They are very small (as expected) in 4-inch “greenhouse pots.” I live in Buffalo, NY and cannot plant them outside yet (for obvious reasons). I still have them in the original growers pots on the kitchen window ledge. The drainage is extremely well, almost too good in my opinion. Cost isn’t a factor, as these plants were marked down to $3 each from their original retail of $8.99. They are so cute I would hate to lose them over the Winter and cannot wait to plant them outside next spring, as I have the perfect spot in mind. I feel I must “do” something different in order to save these cuties ’til spring. Can you help me with indoor winter location, repotting, watering, fertilizing, etc.? Any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated.
P.S. I have found much info on the internet, but it’s all geared to outside care and doesn’t address my dilemma.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
There are two options: you can either keep them indoors as houseplants, or keep them in a cool (35 to 45 degrees) environment to encourage them to go dormant. If you keep them as houseplants, give them the sunniest window you can and/or a grow light, only water when the soil dries out, and don't give them any fertilizer.
In the spring, gradually harden them off before planting them in the soil, as explained here:
The "Rock Garden" variety of holly is winter hardy in zone 6 and warmer, and can survive winter in zone 5 with protection, so if you're in these zones, you'll be able to plant your hollies outdoors in the spring as you've planned and enjoy them for years to come.