Nellie Stevens is still one of the larger varieties. Although not new, it is very prolific and sets berries readily. A large dark green holly, it grows 25’x20’ easily and quickly. So leave plenty of room.
Honey Maid is from the Blue Holly group and has nice variegation, smooth leaves and nice red berries. This Hybrid matures near 8’x6’. This should be a new stand out variety.
Featured Plant Spotlight..... Hollies
Both Liberty and Robin are from the Red Holly Collection, and are outstanding selections but similar. Liberty getting 15’x8’, while Robin grows 18’x10’. Both produce nice full plants.
Drops of Gold is a Japanese Holly whose new growth is golden yellow. A low mounding shrub at 4’x6’.
Very hard to come by is Holly Latifolia, or Large Leaf Holly. Resembling a Magnolia, this plant has large oblong flat leaves with very small spines around the edge. Growing 20’x20’, it is a little slower than most, but gets large.
Golden Burford is rounded at 12’x12’, is not variegated, but has a golden glow to the foliage.
The following will be special order only, and may have periods when they appear green like their predecessors.
Dahoon Holly, also known as Swamp Holly, prefers damp sites. Its berries can be red or yellow and has a smooth leaf resembling laurels. It typically has a loose open habit and is not particularly formal. Use similar to Wax Myrtles, and probably special order.
Red Sprite is the smallest and best for up close. Maturing at 4’x5’, it can fit into many spaces. Its best pollinator is Jim Dandy (6’x8’).
Red Beauty, one of the “Red” Hollies (noted for new growth exhibiting some burgundy in the foliage) is a prolific berry producer also. Another small leaf Holly needing little pruning to maintain a full look, making it a good selection for foundation corners and screens. Red Beauty matures at 20’ high x 10’ wide. It is somewhat narrow and is another potential replacement for Fosterii.
The American Hollies are generally considered trees, although several of the upright ones mentioned above fit that description as well. Most of the American Hollies have an oblong leaf with small spines around the edges.
Verticillata/Deciduous Hollies (losing their leaves) are not so new, but continue to gain popularity. There are distinct male/female varieties, with some preference as to which "couple" belongs together (based on blooming sequences). These provide brilliant displays of red berries for winter (when pollinated). Often a solid dark or light backdrop makes the berries “pop”. These Hollies are very impressive until the bird’s feast. Males are very ordinary looking plants and can often be “hidden” in the landscape. It is generally recommended to keep the pollinator within 100’ of the females. One male can pollinate about 10 females.
Sunny Foster is a Fosterii with dull yellow tips on the leaves. Up close it is not so impressive, but at a distance it makes a golden presence in the landscape, with more size at 30’ high x 15’ wide.
Oak Leaf has been around a little while and is characterized by foliage resembling Oak tree leaves. This one grows to a tighter 14’high and 8’ wide.
Sparkleberry (8’x6’) and Winter Red (10’x10’ get larger. These typically have a rounded habit. Apollo (8’x6’) and Southern Gentleman (6’x8’) are better pollinators for these two.
One new variety showing great promise is Acadiana. Dense, upright, and a tight conical habit makes this very desirable. Small leaves and good berry set will create some demand for this Holly. Growing only to about 14’x8’ it can easily be confined to small spaces.
Some of the hybrids like Mary Nell and Emily Bruner fit that description. Mary Nell is my preferred variety generally 20’x14’ and is a darker green than Emily Bruner. Other Opaca Hollies like Greenleaf and Satyr Hills get larger ranging here from 25’ to 35’ and some up to 75’. American Hollies are well suited to shade, often growing native in the woods.
The most noticeable is Variegated English Holly. The foliage is stunning. It is a slow grower reaching 20’ high x 12’ wide where permitted, and can be pyramidal or rounded. It requires Gold Coast English Holly (also variegated) for pollination. Gold Coast is much smaller at 6’x6’. Both perform well in shade.
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Oakland is said to be an improved version of Oak leaf with better berry set and darker color. It also gets a little larger at 20’x15’. But with both of these you have a unique foliage texture.
Variegated Hollies give you something extra to look at. Variegated leaves add a touch of flair, and lighten up shady gardens, although variegations are usually duller in shade. Variegated plants are typically slower growing than all green plants, which can affect their cost. Variegated foliages are very desirable for arrangements and decorating.
Probably what is going to be the hottest Holly is Miss Patricia. Miss Patricia is a very narrow, conical Holly that will fit nicely into tight places. A small spiny leaf with abundant red berries, Miss Patricia grows to 10’ high by 4’ wide. This tight conical habit is going to create a great demand for this plant. Something other than Skypencil and more showy.
Hollies are tried and true and with so many varieties one can find a selection to fit most any situation in the landscape. So, what’s NEW about Hollies?
Many of these we will stock on a daily basis, some we will order as needed.
Bear in mind plants don’t read labels or articles, and may get larger than anticipated if they are happy in their location. Hollies can be pruned, but leaving adequate space reduces maintenance. Hollies are adaptable to sun and shade. Hollies are generally male and female. Most of the varieties below are hybrids which pollinate easily by other hybrids, American Hollies, or Blue Hollies. Usually a pollinator is needed within ¼ mile for berry set.
First, let’s look at the uprights as most of the “new” fits here.
Christmas Jewell is an improved hybrid with a small spiny leaf, prolific red berries and a much better branching habit than Fosterii. Look for it to begin replacing the Fosterii as more numbers become available. Christmas Jewell matures to 15’ high x 10’ wide vs 30’x15’ for Fosterii (much larger than people realize). Christmas Jewell needs much less pruning than Fosterii to have a full plant, a primary reason it will take over eventually.
Golden Helleri is similar but smaller at 2.5’x4’.
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O’Spring is a male Chinese growing 12’x10’ whose variegation is blended providing a golden look.
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