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Quercus ilex

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© RHS 2002

Characteristics

Plant type

Tree

Habit

Bushy

Resilience

Hardiness

H5 (hardy - cold winter)

Colour

Flower

Pale Yellow in Spring

Foliage

Dark Green in Autumn, Spring, Summer and Winter

Fruit

Brown in Autumn

Size

Ultimate height

Higher than 12 metres

Ultimate spread

wider than 8 metres

Time to ultimate height

20-50 years


Preferred common name

holm oak

Family

Fagaceae


Quercus can be deciduous or evergreen trees or shrubs, with entire, lobed or toothed leaves; flowers inconspicuous, followed by characteristic acorns; sometimes good autumn colour

Q. ilex is a large evergreen tree with black, finely cracked bark, developing a massive, rounded crown. Glossy dark green, ovate leaves, whitish beneath contrast with whitish young foliage and yellow catkins

Other common names

  • evergreen oak
  • holly oak
  • holly-leaved oak
  • ilex

How to grow

Sunlight

  • Full sun
  • Part shade

Aspect

  • North-facing, East-facing, South-facing or West-facing
  • Sheltered or Exposed

Cultivation

An easy to grow evergreen tree that responds well to formative pruning and clipping. Can be used as hedging in coastal areas and is suitable for most sites except the coldest inland areas. Leaf fall can occur in summer

Soil

  • Moist but well-drained or Well-drained
  • Acid, Neutral or Alkaline
  • Chalk, Loam, Sand or Clay

Propagation

Propagate by seed sown in a coldframe or seedbed as soon as ripe or by grafting in mid-autumn or late winter

Suggested planting locations and garden types

Drought Resistant, Mediterranean Climate Plants, Coastal or Hedging/Screens


How to care

Pruning

Pruning group 1

Pests

Susceptible to aphids and leaf-mining moths

Diseases

Generally disease free