January 18

Lina shared about Hollies that are blooming this time of year.

Lina shared  Hollies that bloom this time of year.

Ilex, Holly

Hollies are known for their glossy and spiny dark green leaves, and colorful berries that often persist well into winter. Birds enjoy the berries, technically called drupes, making the holly an excellent option for a bird garden. The flowers come out in spring and early summer, and are rather inconspicuous. Hollies are dioecious, meaning there are male and female plants, and only the females have berries. It is best to have one male for every five female plants. They prefer moist, acidic soil, full to partial sun, and protection from winter winds. The best time to plant is in spring. The best time to prune is, of course, before Christmas, so the branches and berries can be used in Christmas arrangements, wreaths, and other decorations. Most hollies are classified as broadleaf evergreens, but some cultivars are deciduous and lose their leaves every fall.

Ilex opaca ‘Big Red’, American Holly Big Red. The opaca cultivar is a slow growing conical tree, about 6” a year, and is best used as a focal point in a sunny area. It will grow quite large, up to 30’, but because it is so slow growing, it can be incorporated into a smaller landscape for many years. Although native to southeast US, varieties do tolerate down to -20 F. The cold 2013-2014 winter did cause damage to many American hollies in Ohio. Large red berries grace Big Red.

Ilex opaca ‘Morgan Gold’, American Holly Morgan Gold. golden berries

Ilex opaca ‘Chief Paduke’, American Holly Chief Paduke, considered one of the best American Hollies at Inniswood. The name comes about because it was first seen in Paducah, Kentucky.

Ilex opaca ‘’Steward’s Silver Crown, American Holly Steward’s Silver Crown. Variegated leaves, very slow grower. Less cold tolerant than green-leafed cultivars.

Ilex glabra ‘Shamrock’, Inkberry Shamrock. A native species that adapts to wet or dry soils, acidic or alkaline soils, full sun or moderate shade. This holly is different in that it does not have spiny leaves and the drupes are black. A great plant for massing, as it does sucker somewhat. It is very hardy in Ohio and quite trouble free. Grows to 5’.

Ilex glabra f. leucocarpa ’Ivory Queen’, Inkberry Ivory Queen. A white berry form.

Ilex serrata x Ilex verticillata ‘Autumn Glow’, Hybrid between Finetooth Holly and Common Winterberry. This is a deciduous holly, which shows off its berries without the interference of leaves. It is most showy in front of a backdrop of evergreens. They grow up to 10’.

Ilex verticillata, Common Winterberry. This native grows in moist, acidic soil in the wild. ‘Winter Red’ is the most common of the deciduous hollies. It grows 6’ to 10’ high and wide. ‘Red Sprite’ grows only 3’ to 5’, better suited for smaller landscapes.

Ilex x meserveae, Meserve Hybrid hollies are very common in landscapes in Ohio, as they are fairly hardy, down to -20 F. They grow 10’ to 15’ high, but can be pruned to desired size.