Ilex Cranata, also known as Japanese Holly or Box-leaved Holly, is an attractive alternative to Box (Buxus sempervirens). Due to its similar appearance, I. Crenata offers the perfect way to side-step Box blight to which it is resistant. If uncut, growing up to 6m, the small, evergreen shrub produces tiny (3cm x 2cm) glossy, dark green leaves with minutely scalloped edges. Both male and female plants bear unremarkable white flowers in the summer; only the female produces small black fruits in the autumn.
Examples of topiary can be traced back to Ancient Egypt. Originating in the Far East, I. Cranata is excellent both for topiary specimens and hedging. Centuries ago the Japanese perfected the art of Niwaki, producing the highly distinctive and beautiful 'cloud trees' in Ilex Cranata that are now so sought after. Highly tolerant of shearing, the shrub regenerates from old wood so can be re-shaped even after accidental neglect. Also lending itself to topiary is the fact that it is both easy, yet slow, to grow.
Position topiary Ilex Cranata pyramids or balls in favourite containers to create eye-catching, sculptural features giving depth to a garden. Alternatively, use multiple plants to form low, clipped hedging for knot gardens or parterres.
Tolerant of most conditions except poorly drained soil or dense shade.
Pot size: 10L
Common Name: Japanese holly, Box leaved holly
Hardiness: Fully hardy
Height and Spread: 6m in 10-20 years (can be hard pruned)
Preferred Soil Type: Fertile, humus-rich soil; thrives in limey, chalky soils
Aspect: Any aspect
Position: Full or partial sun