Toyon, more commonly known as the California Holly, is the famous tree that, rumor has it, inspired the name of the city Hollywood (source). This fast-growing tree is excellent for anyone who wants to grow their own low-maintenance tree. With fast growth rates and minimal maintenance, this tree is among the most favorable for homeowners and landscapers.
A Toyon tree can grow to about 10 ft (304.8 cm) tall within five years. It takes three years for the plant to reach complete maturity if planted from a sapling.
Carefully read this article for further information on the ideal growing conditions for Toyon trees, their cultivation history, and some growing tips.
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Toyon Growth Rate in Ideal Conditions
Like other plants, with proper care and ideal growing conditions, Toyon trees have great potential. Under ideal growing conditions, a Toyon tree can easily support a growth rate of 2 ft (24 cm) per year, reaching full maturity at around three years (source).
The most important thing to understand before planting a Toyon, or any plant for that matter, is the ideal conditions for their optimal growth.
Ideal Growing Conditions for Toyons
Let’s explore some of Toyon’s ideal growing conditions.
Required Sunlight Exposure
Toyon trees can thrive in both shade and sunlight. However, ideally, they should be placed in a spot that receives full sunlight.
If placed in a shady or semi-shaded area, the Toyon tree begins to leg and stretch out towards the sunlight. This can cause the plant to grow horizontally rather than vertically and even become a fire hazard.
As we all know, all plants need water to grow and thrive. But Toyons do not require a lot of water. A mature plant will only require watering once a month.
Only in extreme heat will you need to increase the watering frequency to a maximum of twice a month.
Suitable Weather Conditions
Toyons are famous for their resilience. Since they have minimal water requirements and can grow in direct or partial sunlight, they suit hot, dry climates perfectly.
In addition, Toyons are great at withstanding drought conditions (source).
How Much Maintenance Does a Toyon Require? (PPA)
Toyon plants are very low maintenance. They require minimal watering (once a month at maturity) and only need trimming if they begin to leg out to avoid them becoming a fire hazard. You can prune the tree to promote dense growth but you are not required to.
History of Toyon Cultivation
The Toyon tree, scientifically known as Hetromales, gets its name from the Latin words meaning “small apple.” The commonly used name “Toyon” originates directly from Native America.
The plant is a California native and the official plant of Los Angeles city. It is grown here specifically for winter festivities. The red berries in the winter holiday season add a festive look to the typically warm and dry California weather.
How To Grow a Toyon Tree
So you want to grow your own Toyon? This is how to go about it.
Establishing The Plant
There are 3 ways to grow and cultivate your very own Toyon. You can do this from:
- Take your seeds and sow (during the late fall to winter months) in soil from the garden you plan on later transferring the plant to.
- Water the soil just enough to keep it moist.
- The seed will sprout within 10 to 15 days after sowing.
- Once sprouted, transfer each sapling to a separate container or pot.
- Find a partial or full sun receiving spot wherever you plan on planting the Toyon.
- Dig a hole into the soil that is twice as wide but at the same depth as the pot holding the sapling.
- Water the empty hole thoroughly.
- Wait for the water to drain.
- Transfer your sapling into the drained hole.
- Press down the soil around the sapling to remove any air gaps.
- Cut 4 to 5-inch (10.16 – 12.7cm) long trimmings off a well-hydrated Toyon plant.
- Prepare a growing medium of perlite and gardening sand.
- Trim off any dead areas on the cuttings.
- Remove any leaves from the lower half of the cutting.
- Dip the cutting into powdered rooting hormone.
- Plant the cutting into a pot filled with the growing medium.
- Place the pot in a bright but indirect sunlight area.
- Mist the cuttings with water regularly to prevent them from drying out.
- Once the cuttings have taken root, transplant them into a pot with a mixture of gardening sand and soil from your garden.
Growing the Toyon Plant
When you have established a Toyon plant, water it weekly for the first couple of months. Then, slowly decrease the watering from weekly to once every other week. Continue weaning out the watering schedule until you only have to water the plant once per month.
Tips for Growing Toyon
The below tips will come useful when growing a Toyon:
- Plant your Toyon in a spot that receives full sunlight in order to stop the plant from legging. Legging is a natural fire hazard and requires trimming.
- When establishing a Toyon tree from cuttings, plant the cutting close together in order to preserve moisture.
- When planting from a sapling, surround the sapling loosely with mulch in order to promote better growing conditions.
- The best cuttings that are most likely to grow roots are those taken from well-hydrated Toyon plants in the spring or summer months.
Why Grow a Toyon Plant
There are many upsides to growing a Toyon tree:
- A Toyon is an excellent low maintenance, drought resistant tree.
- It is easy to plant and maintain, which is why it’s used for purposes such as stabilizing compromised slopes.
- It can also be used in areas where erosion is of concern.
- This fast-growing plant is also a great choice for creating a privacy hedge around your home.
The Toyon tree or Christmas Holly is a great, garden-friendly plant that can be planted and maintained by professionals and enthusiasts alike. Plant one now and have a fully matured tree in three years.
A Toyon is perfect for drought-stricken areas where you want to add some natural life, but it has to be drought-tolerant.
For the easiest planting technique, opt for a seed or sapling. However, if you have cultivated a Toyon before, you may want to challenge yourself and go for the cuttings.
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