Holly (Ilex Aquifolium) 3L 60-90cm
Common Holly (Ilex aquifolium) is a medium sized evergreen tree capable of forming a versatile, hardy, sophisticated, decretive hedge capable of supplying privacy. It has a grey smooth trunk and dark green, glossy, undulating (wavy), spiky, spiny leaves. Its dense foliage offer a perfect backdrop striking red and orange berries which form on fertilised female plants. This offers a perfect habitat, providing cover and food for wildlife.
Common Holly (Ilex aquifolium) is a slow growing plant, averaging 10-20cm a year, making it incredibly easy to maintain between 1-4m, if and when pruned, it should be done in the late winter months, so as to ensure it does not ooze sap. It can also survive a significant pruning if it becomes over grown. It looks great as a hedge on its own or is equally effective in a native hedge mix. It loves free draining soil and is not overly fussy about the pH or type of soil, growing on chalk, clay, loam or sand.
As an architectural specimen, Common Holly (Ilex aquifolium) it requires little to no pruning and can grow up to 20m in height. It is located in RHS pruning group 1 when not in a hedge, meaning you should just remove dead and over lapping branches. Typically, Holly is typically used in the middle or back of a border or bed and can also be used to create topiary. Other locations and uses include: hedging and screening, city and courtyard gardens, costal locations, cottage and informal, borders and beds-typically the middle or back.
Interestingly enough, the leaves of Common Holly (Ilex aquifolium) differ significantly towards the top of larger trees. At the bottom of the tree, these have a larger spine and spike which gradually reduces as you get further up the tree. These leaves can span 2.5cm-7.5cm long and 2-6.5cm wide, with their spines they make a formidable obstacle to intruders.
Common Holly (Ilex aquifolium) is incredibly resilient with a RHS hardiness rating of H6, meaning it is hardy down to -20-15C and is capable of surviving on the most exposed spots. Thus as a hedge, it makes for a perfect windbreak. Sheltering the rest of the garden allowing it and the wildlife inside it to thrive. The flowers are known to be rich in sector and pollen, attracting bees, butterflies and moths. This and their berries in the cold winter months in turn benefit the birds which can make your garden a hub of activity.
Whilst Common Holly’s (Ilex aquifolium) berries and leaves are toxic to horses, dogs, cats they tend to avoid them unless there is a drought when they are more desperate for food.
Common Holly (Ilex aquifolium) is typically hard to transplant, this should only be done in September or May after root activity has commenced. If the roots are damaged it is a good idea to prune the foliage accordingly. Transplanting typically refers to bare root or moving the plants. This highlights why a container grown/Holly in a pot is far more successful when being planted out.
- Slow growing, 10-20cm annually once established.
- Over 20m tall.
- Full sun to dappled shade.
- Moist but well drained, well drained, pH, Acid, Alkaline, Neutral.
- It can grow in Can grow on chalk, clay, loam or sand.
- Prune in late winter so it does not ooze sap.
- Fully hardy in the UK, can survive down to -20-15C
Origins of the name
The name Ilex originates from the latin word for evergreen oak, of which holly was meant to bare some resemblance. Aquifolium means pointed leaf coming from the word acus meaning needle or pin.
Buying a hedge
There are many benefits to buying a hedge, which many people forget. For more information on why to buy a hedge, visit our page on why buy a hedge?
When buying a hedge it is important to know the different forms of hedging. For more information visit our page on Bare root, root ball, potted plants.
When purchasing a hedge it is important that you give it every chance it can to thrive. For more information on planting visit our Planting page.