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Japanese Holly Hedge Plants (Ilex crenata)Japanese Holly Hedge Plants (Ilex crenata)

Box-Leaf Holly Hedge Plants

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The details

Ilex crenata

Hedge Plants
  • To: 5m+
  • Soil: any
  • Use: formal hedging/topiary shapes
  • Single row: 3-4 plants per metre
  • Dark green leaves, few prickles, with black berries
  • Decent alternative to Box (Buxus)
  • Pot Grown Delivery: Year Round
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£ 12.96

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Ilex crenata, Japanese Box-Leaf Holly Hedging: An Alternative to Box (Buxus)

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Japanese Holly is immune to box blight and looks quite similar to Buxus, although it has a few little prickles on its glossy, small leaves, which clip so well.

The Convexa form is the closest thing to Dwarf Box; this wild species is also more vigorous, to over 5 metres.
View our holly hedging plants, Box hedge plants, or our full range of hedging.

Growing Japanese Holly 

It will grow in sun or shade and happily establishes in all types of soil. It 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 that need winter definition will 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.


  • Hedge Size: To 4m, higher as a tree
  • Soil: any
  • Use: formal hedging/topiary shapes
  • Single row: 3-4 plants per metre
  • Colour: dark green
  • Few spines on the leaves

Did You Know?

It grows wild in Japan at up to 3,000 feet and comes in several varieties. Ilex crenata is one of the most popular and was introduced into the UK in 1864.