This genus contains about 400 species of evergreen or deciduous trees, shrubs and climbers. Used for its foliage and berries since Roman times, Ilex - or Holly as it is commonly known - has long been associated with festivals, including Christmas because of its bright red, round berries.
In the majority of species, male and female flowers usually grow on separate trees, thus plants of both sexes are required for the production of berries. However, some of the new cultivars are self-fertile, such as Ilex burfordii which has white flowers which look stunning against the dark, green glossy foliage and which are followed by bright red berries. This makes a great specimen shrub and is also excellent for hedging.
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Hollies prefer acid soil that is moderately fertile, well drained and humus-rich. Some hollies will grow in part shade, but most require full sun, especially the variegated ones which need the sun to show their two-tone colours to best effect.
Due to the fact that many species have spiny, thorny points on the undulating leaves, the Holly makes an excellent protective hedge. Hollies also respond well to pruning.
A worthwhile consideration for a hedge with a difference. Small, glossy green leaves which are sharply pointed at the tip. White flowers in spring followed by long lasting red berries in summer that birds love. Self fertile, therefore no male needed, oh if life was that easy! Hardy and evergreen.
Colour: White Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 3.5m x 4.5m
This handsome variety has relatively long leaves marked in grey and edged in cream and purple stems - a very clean variegation. It is female and free fruiting but will require a male within bee travelling distance for the small white flowers to produce numerous red berries. Compact, dense evergreen tree or shrub with purple young shoots. Evergreen.
Colour: White Habit: Dense Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 6m x 4m
A delightful little Holly that is ideal for hedging and topiary work. Small glossy green leaves and a neat and tidy habit. This female clone has little black berries that follow the insignificant flowers. A worthy substitute for Box. Happy in a sunny position in nice deep soil. Hardy.
Colour: White Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1.5m
Topiary Ball. One of the most attractive hollies with tiny leaves that form into a dense shrub. This is a small leafed clone. The fruits are small black and shiny. Ideal for hedging or topiary work. Evergreen.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: cm x cm
An attractive Holly with dark green, almost spineless foliage. Little white flowers in spring are followed by a mass of red berries that put on quite a show and hold well. Presented here to use as an accent in the garden or as a feature in a pot. Evergreen.
'J C Van Tol' is a self-fertile Holly hybrid and will therefore have berries without the need to plant a male and a female. Remember that your Holly will resent being shifted so choose your planting spot carefully.
Colour: White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2.5m x 2m
An unusual and desirable form of the hardy and ever reliable Holly. Very dark green leaves - can be used for hedging, topiary or as a background plant. Easy to grow just about anywhere but happiest in a sunny open spot. Evergreen.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 3m x 2m
Fabulous form and foliage make this Holly a useful and desirable plant. Growing naturally in a tight upright column it looks great in containers or can be used as an accent point. Happy in sun or part shade. Small white flowers followed by black berries but these are fairly inconspicuous. Evergreen.
This is also a useful plant where a narrow screen or hedge is required, it will do the job without dominating or becoming a constant trimming problem.
Colour: White Habit: Columnar Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2m x 0.5m