Ilex crenata

Ilex crenata, or Japanese Holly, is often used as an alternative to buxus and grows somewhat faster. If you prune it frequently enough, the result will be a beautiful closely clipped hedge. You could also let your Ilex crenata grow and then prune it into any shape you want. Ilex crenata produces small white flowers in the summer that later turn into black berries – little treats that birds devour with relish!  Like buxus, Ilex crenata remains green all year round. And, here again, Ilex crenata makes an eye-catching plant in any garden as well as when planted in a decorative pot and placed on your patio or balcony.

Care tips

You will enjoy Ilex crenata (Japanese Holly) during every season of the year. Whether it’s summer or winter, this holly retains its fresh green leaves. And, given the right care, this holly grows faster than the standard buxus. Within just a short time, you’ll have that beautiful garden you had been dreaming of. This is a very strong plant that can easily survive any weather conditions. The best location for Ilex crenata is a sunny spot that also receives some shade. You should prune it at least twice a year, but three times a year is recommended. The pruning period runs from May to the end of September. An example of a pruning schedule would be once in May, again in July, and then again in September. Japanese Holly can tolerate frequent pruning, so you don’t have to worry about pruning it too often. Even if you want a tall hedge (up to 2 metres!), it would still be a good idea to prune these plants every year (allowing them to grow a little taller each year) so that your hedge gets the chance to develop a dense branching structure that makes it nice and strong.

Interesting facts

The castle gardens surrounding Het Loo Palace in Apeldoorn have no fewer than 26 kilometres of Ilex crenata hedges! They look almost exactly the same as the buxus hedges that used to be planted there. They have the same small, green, closely spaced, oval-shaped leaves. And, just like buxus, Ilex crenata can be kept nice and short. Even with all these similarities, however, these plants belong to entirely different families. The holly is an Ilex, and, like all hollies, it produces small berries.  We enjoy how these berries look, and birds absolutely love to eat them, especially during the winter months when the fruits become softer. This way, you create not just a beautiful garden but also one that attracts interesting guests.