Hol­lies of­fer many shapes and sizes

The Standard Journal - - LIFESTYLE - By Ricky Ens­ley Polk County Ex­ten­sion Co­or­di­na­tor

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]

Ricky Ens­ley

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