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Green Holly, Ilex aquifolium, is a native, medium sized tree that makes an excellent evergreen hedging plant or clipped ornamental bush. Holly plants are very hardy and suitable for any soil, both chalky and acidic. Holly will thrive in shade, on the coast, in polluted areas and a holly hedge is one of the best windbreaks for exposed sites. Mature holly is drought resistant.
Holly is good for tall hedges: it will reach 10-20 metres if it grows freely as a tree.
You can also buy Variegated Silver Holly and Ripley's Gold Holly.
Holly hedge plants are only delivered pot-grown, year round.
Choosing a size: When you are ordering Holly plants for a hedge, we suggest that you buy smaller plants if you are not in a rush. They are cheaper and easier to handle than large plants. They will also give you a bushy hedge with little effort. Use larger plants if you want a taller hedge quickly, if you want instant impact or if you want to clip them as topiary.
All our hedge plants are measured by their height in centimetres above the ground (the roots and pot aren't measured).
Spacing a Holly hedge:
Plant Holly hedging at 3 plants per metre, 33cms apart.
General description of Holly plants:
Holly bushes have spiny, glossy green leaves which are very effective at reducing wind speed. Holly leaves are responsive to their environment; the high up leaves on a tall tree are safe from being eaten and lose their spines. Female plants have bright red berries from late autumn to early winter. Holly wood is strong and flexible, able resist the stresses of snow piling up on its branches and strong, wintry winds without breaking. Holly is on the RHS list of plants that resist honey fungus well.
History & uses of Ilex aquifolium
Holly hedging is attractive and low-maintenance. It goes well with laurel in a mixed hedge. Holly berries aren't edible to humans and attract wildlife into the garden during winter, blackbirds, thrushes and robins in particular. The prickly leaves encourage birds to nest in mature trees and they are safe for farm animals and horses. The wood of holly is almost pure white, hard and polishes well. It is much prized for use in furniture, especially for inlay work. It is also good firewood.
Will your Holly plants have berries?
Your holly bushes are grown from seed and are usually too young to have fruited when you buy them. In our experience, slightly more than half of the plants in a large batch will turn out to be female, though we can't promise this.