Hollies offer many shapes and sizes
Holly plants are among the most durable and versatile plants in the landscape, hollies offer different shapes, sizes, textures, and colors. If you are considering making some improvement to your landscape, here are a few of the best choices.
(Ilex crenata) typically have little, spineless leaves and small black fruit. They have dark green leaves and make good foundation plants. Substitute them for boxwoods. Or use them in groups in front of taller plants. Ilex crenata ‘Herreri’ is one of the smallest, with an attractive, spreading form. It’s low-maintenance but won’t tolerate poor drainage. Ilex crenata ‘compacta’ has interesting foliage and rarely grows more than 3 feet tall.
are a good choice if you like larger leaves, taller height, and a heavy berry crop. Most have large, spiny, glossy, dark green leaves. They can get quite large, so use them as scorner plantings or specimens, not as foundation plants. Ilex cornuta ‘Burfordi,’ Dwarf Burford or Needlepoint are tough, reliable berry producers. They’re fairly pest-free and can grow surprisingly fast. Ilex cornuta ‘Rotunda’ dwarf, a heavily spined plant, is among the shorter Chinese hollies. It’s sometimes used to block foot traffic or animals because of its sharp spines. This holly is so tough, it’s almost bombproof.
(Ilex opaca) is the traditional Christmas holly, with large spiny green leaves and bright red berries. It grows up to 50 feet tall. Among the bestknown cultivars are:
Dan Fenton, with large, glossy leaves
Jersey Delight and Jersey Princess S Jersey Knight is the male pollen source
Merry Christmas with glossy, deep green leaves and marbled with gray-green
Stewart’s Holly (Ilex aquifolium) is an evergreen tree with very spiny, glossy foliage and bright red berries. Cultivars with white variegated leaf margins are distinctive. Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria), an eastern U. S. native, tolerated wind and hot climates better than most evergreen hollies. It has a purplish tinge on new foliage, which then turns dark green. Female plants produce small, red berries in large clusters. Two of the best are Nana or Dwarf Yaupon holly, a small mound like shrub 3 to 5 feet tall and very broad; and “Pendulal,” a weeping type 15 to 20 feet tall with beautiful berries.
Lusterleaf Holly (Ilex latifolia) is a slow growing evergreen tree up to 30 feet tall. Its leaves, 6 to 8 inches long, are the largest of all hollies.
Nellie R. Stevens is a cross between English and Chinese hollies. A fast growing holly with a conical shape, dark green foliage and large, red berries, is an excellent specimen tree.
If you have questions about hollies or other landscape plants, contact the Polk County Extension Office at 770-749-2142 or [email protected]