By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Nevermind the prickly leaves, the prices are enough to give you sticker shock. Buying boughs of holly and holly berries by the bunch gets sort of spendy unless you’re just filling a vase. But to gather into garlands or wrap wreath rings, it’s a lot cheaper to get holly from your own garden.

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Those bare branches with the bright red berries you see for sale come from our easy-to-grow native Winterberry holly shrubs – Ilex verticillata. I’ve even seen some thriving along the Schuylkill Expressway, so you can tell they’re not too fussy.

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A much bigger plant is our American holly tree, Ilex opaca, which has evergreen leaves and red berries. If you have the room for one, you’ll enjoy shade in the summer, a nice wind block in winter and plenty of boughs to use as you choose.

Both of these holly plants need a boy version nearby to produce berries. But since you can buy two Winterberry shrubs for the price of a few bouquets of the berries, you’ll be ahead of the game by next winter already.

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So, plan to plant some of our easy-to-grow native hollies next spring, to liven up your winter landscape and save yourself some serious bucks as you deck the halls for years to come.