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Ilex x meserveae 'China Boy'

China Boy holly
Aquifoliaceae
Evergreen, Shrubs

ILEX

Many hundreds of species and hybrids exist. Smaller kinds are attractive as foundation plantings or low hedges; larger evergreen sorts make attractive and impenetrable tall hedges or screens.

In size, they range from foot-high dwarfs to trees 40–50 ft. tall. Many hundreds of species and hybrids exist. Smaller kinds are attractive as foundation plantings or low hedges; larger evergreen sorts make attractive and impenetrable tall hedges or screens.

Nearly all holly plants are either male or female, and as a rule both sexes must be present in order for female plants to set fruit. Best bet is to plant a male of the same species as fruiting females; if you use a different species, berries will form only if both plants flower at the same time. Varieties described below are female unless otherwise noted. A few are self-fruitful; these also are noted.

Most hollies prefer rich, slightly acid garden soil with good water drainage. (A few exceptions are noted.) All appreciate a mulch to deter weeds and keep soil cool and moist. Though plants will grow in sun or part shade, choose a sunny spot for best berry production and most compact growth. Scale can cause problems in all holly-growing areas. Holly bud moth and leaf miner need attention on English holly in the Northwest; for control, employ only products currently registered for use against those pests. Diseases are rarely a problem for home gardeners.

Most hollies tend to be dense and symmetrical. Prune mainly to remove poorly placed, broken, or dead branches. Winter holiday season is good time to prune, because clipped branches can be used for indoor decoration. You can restore a holly that has become too open or ragged by severely shortening its branches and allowing new growth to fill in. Small-leafed hollies can be sheared into formal hedges or topiary figures.

Ilex x meserveae

Most plants in this category are hybrids between Ilex aquifolium and a cold-tolerant species from northern Japan. Dense, bushy plants; apparently the hardiest of hollies with the true holly look. Grows to 10 ft. high and wide, though more commonly seen 3 to 5 ft. tall and broad. Purple stems and spiny, glossy, blue-green leaves.

'China Boy'

Cross between Ilex cornuta and a northern Japanese species; slightly hardier and more tolerant of summer heat than the other hybrids in this group. This one is a male pollenizer.

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Ilex x meserveae 'Blue Boy'

Male pollenizer.

Ilex x meserveae 'Blue Princess'

Grows 5 to 10 ft. high and wide with purple stems and spiny, glossy, blue-green leaves. Red fruit.

Ilex x meserveae

Most plants in this category are hybrids between Ilex aquifolium and a cold-tolerant species ...

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