Japanese Holly is going through a resurgence in popularity as box blight cuts through swathes of once-immaculate formal box hedging. This is the plant that will save the parterre's day because it grows like Box. It does not look like a holly at all - not a prickle in sight - but instead has glossy, tiny rounded leaves that can be clipped to a razor edge.
It also grows very slowly so that with little effort you can keep it at a manageable height and well-manicured at the same time. New growth is slightly lighter in colour for about two months and gives the plant a lovely Ready Brek glow. This holly will grow in sun or shade and happily establishes in all types of soil. The female plant carries black berries. If however you did really want genuine holly then we can supply potted plants throughout the year. For those considering a slightly taller evergreen hedge, you may like to consider investing in some of our yew hedging.
Ilex crenata Convexa is far tougher and hardier than box. Where box blight has got a grip, this could well be the solution being slow growing, easy to clip and immune. As such, it can be used to re-create knot gardens, to delineate borders or paths or to mark out parterres. It can be cut to crisp lines and tortuous shapes - cones, spirals and spheres are all possible. Small gardens requiring winter definition benefit from an injection of Japanese holly whether clipped or allowed to grow naturally. Dwarf spring bulbs like the tiny February Gold daffodil or dwarf Pinocchio tulip, grown underneath, contrast well in spring.
Japanese holly is not a demanding plant but it is best to give it a clip or shape in June and then, for formal topiary or hedges where the lines really matter, give it another tiny trim in August to deal with any stray bits.
Japanese holly grows in Japan at altitudes up to 3,000 feet and new varieties are continuously being discovered. Crenata is one of the most popular and was introduced into the UK in 1864.