Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. Female plants should be planted for fruit, with at least one male for every 8 to 10 females within a 300-400 foot range for pollination.
The Ilex is widely tolerant of soil types, but will perform best in a well-drained but moisture-retentive soil of acid reaction. The best form and fruiting will occur in full sun, but plants can also tolerate light shade.
Little pruning is required, except to remove weak or dead branches, and to keep at desired shape and size. (Exceptions to this are I. verticillata, whose older branches should be cut back periodically to ground level, and I. opaca, or American holly, which will benefit from a formative pruning in early spring.)