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Ilex aquifolium AGM

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© RHS

Characteristics

Plant type

Tree

Habit

Bushy

Toxicity

Berries may cause mild stomach upset if ingested

Resilience

Hardiness

H6 (hardy - very cold winter)

Colour

Flower

White in Spring and Summer

Foliage

Dark Green in Autumn, Spring, Summer and Winter

Fruit

Red in Autumn and Winter

Size

Ultimate height

Higher than 12 metres

Ultimate spread

4-8 metres

Time to ultimate height

20-50 years


Preferred common name

common holly

Family

Aquifoliaceae


Ilex can be deciduous or evergreen shrubs and trees with often spiny leaves, small white flowers (male and female usually on separate plants) and, on female plants, showy berries in autumn

I. aquifolium is a medium-sized evergreen tree, slow-growing when young, with dark, glossy green, undulate and usually strongly spiny leaves. Small, dull white flowers in spring are followed by bright red berries, on pollinated female plants

Other common names

  • English holly
  • holly
  • holm
  • hulst
  • hulver

How to grow

Sunlight

  • Full sun

Aspect

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

Cultivation

Easy to grow in a well-drained soil in a sunny position

Soil

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

Propagation

Propagate by seed or semi-hardwood cuttings

Suggested planting locations and garden types

City/Courtyard Gardens, Coastal, Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower borders and beds or Hedging/Screens


How to care

Pruning

Pruning group 1

Pests

aphids, scale insects and holly leaf miner may be a problem

Diseases

May be affected by holly leaf blight