It’s the holiday season and we are ringing the bells on these classic winter plants. From the Ilex genus, hollies are an iconic winter plant for their evergreen foliage, brilliant berries and versatility. There are over 400 species of holly, all ranging in different temperatures and climates.
Hollies are dioecious, which makes each female plant need a male plant to produce berries. Our plant experts helped narrow down the wide selection of hollies by sharing their favorite varieties below.
Blue Princess Holly & Blue Prince Holly
Grown in USDA Zones 4-7, blue princess is a female variety. Place this beautiful shrub next to a blue prince (a male variety) and through pollination your blue princess will produce deep red berries. Plants will reach a mature height of 10 to 15 feet and spread of 8 to 10 feet.
Our plant experts recommend one male for every three to five female plants. Blue prince reaches 8 to 12 feet tall and wide. It grows in the same USDA zones as blue princess.
Blue prince and princess are dense shrubs featuring purplish stems and dark blue-green leaves. Plant in borders, hedges or foundation plantings. While birds enjoy munching on berries throughout the winter, they are poisonous to cats, dogs and humans.
China Boy Holly & China Girl Holly
Midwest hardy and easy to grow, China boy and China girl holly offer lovely winter interest. Reaching a mature height of 8 to 10 feet and spread of 6 to 8 feet, plant these shrubs next to each other in Zones 4 to 9 for pollination to occur.
With bright green stems and cupped foliage, these two varieties offer texture and color. Utilize these shrubs to create the perfect privacy hedge. Pro tip: use clippings in the winter to create holiday containers, displays and add the perfect festive touch.
If you are concerned about pollination and planting the correct varieties next to each other, consider purchasing varieties which grow both male and female varieties within the same container. This is available for China Boy/Girl and Blue Prince/Princess.
Berry Heavy® Winterberry Holly
As the long and sometimes dreary winter weather approaches, enlighten your mood with colorful and abundant berries from Berry Heavy® Winterberry. This is a deciduous shrub unlike other holly varieties. As leaves fall with the changing seasons, numerous berries become landscaping showstoppers.
Plant in Zones 3 to 9. Mature plants grow to reach 6 to 8 feet tall and wide. Our plant experts recommend planting Mr. Poppins® Winterberry as a male pollinator.
A rounded compact shrub, shamrock inkberry is grown in Zones 4-9. Our plant experts love the visual interest this variety offers in mass or border plantings. With a pollinator close by, flowers will develop into small jet-black berries.
As a compact shrub it reaches a mature height and spread of 3 to 4 feet. Shamrock inkberry is great for urban locations as it tolerates air pollution. Prune plants in the early spring to maintain shape.
Allow plants with winter interest to boost your mood, improve your local environment and challenge yourself with DIY-plant projects this holiday season. We hope you enjoyed learning about our holly varieties and have a jolly “holly-day” season.
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