Genus: Holly

Ilex

Photo/Illustration: 
Michelle Gervais
Holly (Ilex)
EYE-leks
Aquifoliaceae
Ilex is a large genus of more than 400 species of evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs, and climbers from woodland regions the world over. Hollies are grown for their leaves, which are often spiny and glossy, and their colorful berries, which often attract birds. Flowers are small, cup-shaped, and rather inconspicuous and are borne from spring to early summer. Male and female plants are usually needed for fruiting. Grow hollies in a woodland garden, as specimens, as hedges, or in rock gardens, depending on the species.
Noteworthy characteristics:  Foliage is often spiny. The round or oval berries can be red, black, white, orange, or yellow. Berries may cause mild stomach upset if eaten.
Care:  Hollies need moist but well-drained, humusy soil of moderate fertility in full sun (especially for variegated plants) or partial shade. It is best to plant or move hollies in early spring. Prune in late winter or early spring if necessary.
Propagation: 

Germination may take 2 or 3 years, but seeds should be sown in autumn in a cold frame. Semi-ripe cuttings can be taken in summer or early fall.

Problems: 

Aphids can attack young shoots. Evergreen species may be troubled by scale insects and leaf miners. Phytophthora root rot can occur.

Species, varieties and clutivars for genus Ilex

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'Nellie R. Stevens' holly
Ilex 'Nellie R. Stevens'
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English holly
Ilex aquifolium
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Chinese holly
Ilex cornuta
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Japanese holly
Ilex crenata
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Possumhaw holly
Ilex decidua
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Gallberry
Ilex glabra
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American holly
Ilex opaca
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Japanese winterberry
Ilex serrata 'Sundrops'
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Black alder
Ilex verticillata
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Ilex verticillata 'Sunsplash'
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Yaupon holly
Ilex vomitoria
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Blue holly
Ilex × meserveae