Position – Full sun or part shade
Soil – Moist, well-drained
Flowering Period – Berries in autumn/winter
Hardiness – Fully hardy
Ilex are deciduous or evergreen shrubs and trees, native to Europe, North Africa and Asia. They are commonly referred to as the ‘English Holly’. Distinctive spiny and glossy leaves are decorated with delicate, white flowers. Male and female are usually on separate plants, where female Ilex will generally fashion sumptuous berries during autumn once the flowering period has ceased. They are a staple to a winter garden and are often represented alongside the festive season. Ilex are suited for architectural purposes and will suit a variety of garden styles. Although Ilex can vary in size, on average these plants will grow to an approximate height of 2.5m (8’) and a spread of 1.5m (5’).
Ilex are best planted in moist, well-drained soil of sand, clay, chalk and loam within an acidic, alkaline or neutral PH balance. If you would like to see berries on your female plant, make sure a male plant is nearby. Ensure that Ilex are not planted in water logged conditions as this will cause detriment to the root system. Site an appropriate area that will accommodate your shrubs mature size and dig a hole that is the same depth and twice the width of the root ball. Once planted, water thoroughly and deeply to settle the soil into place. Ilex will thrive best in full sun but will also tolerate areas of part shade.
Established plants will require little attention other than an annual prune during autumn which will shape your shrub or tree to a desired structure. Water Ilex carefully during its first year of growth, making sure the soil is kept moist but not overwatered. It is also recommended to protect any new growth from wildlife such as rabbits and deer.
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