Simply Trees

Chinese Holly

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Twice a monthFull sunDeer resistantSpring
  • Distinctive Foliage: The Chinese Holly, Ilex cornuta, is renowned for its dark green, glossy leaves with unique spiny margins that offer a striking texture contrast in any landscape. This standout foliage makes it an attractive choice for creating visually captivating hedges or as a specimen plant.

  • Durable and Adaptable: Robust by nature, the Chinese Holly is well-suited to a variety of climates and can withstand urban pollution, making it a versatile addition to both rural and city environments. It's also resistant to drought and pests, ensuring long-lasting, hassle-free beauty.

  • Year-Round Interest: With its bright red berries that appear in fall and persist through the winter, this holly provides a splash of vibrant color during the colder months, while its evergreen leaves keep your garden lively and green throughout the year.

More Details

Chinese Holly, scientifically known as Ilex cornuta, is a robust and evergreen shrub noted for its distinctive glossy, dark green leaves with sharply pointed spines and bright red berries. This holly variety is celebrated for its dense, upright growth habit, making it an excellent choice for hedges, screens, or as a striking specimen plant in the landscape. Chinese Holly is highly valued for its tolerance to a variety of conditions, including drought and heat, once established. Its ornamental berries not only add a splash of color in winter but also attract birds, providing both beauty and wildlife interest in the garden.

Growth rate: Moderate growth rate; mature height of 8-15 feet and width of 8-10 feet.

Please note: Images on our website depict plants and trees at full maturity to showcase their expected grown characteristics. These images are illustrative examples only and do not represent the size of plants or trees upon delivery.

Pruning: Pruning is generally not necessary for the Chinese Holly unless you wish to shape or maintain its size. If pruning is desired, it is best to do so in late winter or early spring before new growth appears. Remove any dead, damaged, or crossing branches. Avoid heavy pruning as it may reduce berry production.

Fertilization: Fertilize the Chinese Holly in early spring before new growth begins. Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer specifically formulated for shrubs or evergreens. Follow the package instructions for the recommended dosage based on the size and age of the plant. Avoid overfertilization, as it may lead to excessive vegetative growth with reduced berry production.

Winter Protection: Chinese Holly is known for its hardiness and can withstand a wide range of temperatures. However, providing winter protection is beneficial, especially in colder climates within zones 5-10. Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to insulate the roots, retain moisture, and prevent fluctuations in soil temperature. Consider wrapping the shrub with burlap or providing a windbreak to shield it from drying winter winds.

Choose a location with well-draining soil in full sun to partial shade. Dig a hole twice as wide and the same depth as the root ball. Plant the holly, backfill with soil, and water thoroughly. Space plants according to their mature width if planting as a hedge or screen.

The Chinese Holly thrives in well-drained soil and requires regular watering to establish a healthy root system. Water deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Avoid overwatering, as it may lead to root rot. As for sunlight, the Chinese Holly prefers full to partial sun, receiving at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight each day. Adequate sunlight promotes healthy growth, berry production, and vibrant foliage.

We process and ship your order as quickly as possible, typically within 1-3 business days. You will receive a shipping confirmation with tracking information once your item(s) ship.

We have perfected packaging and shipping plants & trees! That is why we DO NOT use any third-party fulfillment like most other online retailers. Your trees go straight from our farm to your door, safely packaged by our team of seasoned professionals. Our process ensures your plants leave our facility and arrive to your door in the best condition possible!

In cases of extreme cold or hot weather, we may temporarily delay shipping to ensure the well-being of your plants. Our primary focus is on delivering healthy and thriving plants to you. Rest assured, we'll make every effort to notify you of any delays promptly.

Please allow additional ship times during inclement weather and sale periods. We do not process or ship orders on the weekend or U.S. Holidays. Simply Trees is not responsible for delays due to carriers, local disruptions, or weather.

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Zones 7-9

Chinese Holly thrives in USDA Zones 7-9, preferring well-drained soil but adaptable to various soil types. It is resistant to drought and heat once established, making it a resilient choice for Southern landscapes. This variety can tolerate urban pollution, making it suitable for city gardens and street plantings as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Chinese Hollies vary in size depending on the specific cultivar and growing conditions, but they generally range from 8 to 15 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide at maturity. Some cultivars may remain smaller, while others can grow larger under optimal growing conditions.

It's important to consider the mature size of the Chinese Holly cultivar you choose when planning its placement in your landscape. Providing adequate spacing between plants can prevent overcrowding and allow each plant to reach its full size and potential.

Additionally, regular pruning can help manage the size and shape of Chinese Hollies, especially if space is limited or if you prefer a more compact growth habit. Pruning should be done in late winter or early spring before new growth begins to ensure minimal disruption to the plant's natural growth cycle.

Overall, Chinese Hollies are valued for their versatility, attractive foliage, and ability to thrive in a variety of landscaping settings. With proper care and maintenance, they can make an excellent addition to both residential and commercial landscapes.

Chinese Hollies typically have a moderate growth rate, with the exact rate depending on various factors such as environmental conditions, soil quality, and care provided. In optimal growing conditions, Chinese Hollies can grow anywhere from 6 to 12 inches per year. However, growth may be slower in less favorable conditions or during periods of stress.

To promote healthy growth and maximize the growth rate of Chinese Hollies, it's essential to provide adequate sunlight, well-draining soil, and regular watering, especially during the establishment phase. Fertilizing with a balanced fertilizer formulated for woody plants in the spring can also help stimulate growth. Additionally, regular pruning to shape the plant and remove dead or damaged branches can encourage new growth and maintain a desired size and form.

Overall, while Chinese Hollies are not known for rapid growth, they are valued for their attractive foliage, dense growth habit, and adaptability to a range of growing conditions. With proper care and maintenance, Chinese Hollies can thrive and provide a beautiful addition to any landscape.

Chinese Holly and American Holly are both members of the Ilex genus and share some similarities, but they also have several differences:

Origin: Chinese Holly is native to eastern Asia, including China, Korea, and Japan, while American Holly is native to eastern and southeastern United States.

Growth Habit: Chinese Holly tends to have a more compact and upright growth habit compared to American Holly, which typically has a pyramidal or conical shape.

Leaf Characteristics: Chinese Holly leaves are typically narrower and more elongated compared to the broader, spiny leaves of American Holly. Chinese Holly leaves also tend to have fewer spines along the margins compared to American Holly.

Berry Color: Both Chinese Holly and American Holly produce berries, but the berry color differs between the two species. Chinese Holly berries are typically red or orange, while American Holly berries are usually bright red.

Cold Tolerance: American Holly is generally more cold-hardy than Chinese Holly and is often grown in colder regions where winter temperatures can be harsh.

Cultural Significance: American Holly has cultural significance in the United States and is often associated with holiday decorations, particularly during the Christmas season. Chinese Holly may also be used for decorative purposes but is less commonly associated with cultural traditions outside of its native range.

Overall, while Chinese Holly and American Holly share some similarities in appearance and use, they have distinct characteristics that make each species unique. The choice between the two may depend on factors such as climate, desired growth habit, and specific landscaping needs.

The best place to plant Chinese Holly depends on several factors, including the specific cultivar, local climate, and intended use in the landscape. However, Chinese Holly generally thrives in the following conditions:

Sunlight: Chinese Holly performs best in locations with partial to full sun exposure. While it can tolerate some shade, it tends to produce denser growth and more berries in areas with ample sunlight.

Soil: Chinese Holly prefers well-draining, slightly acidic to neutral soil. It can tolerate a range of soil types, including clay, loam, and sandy soil, as long as the soil is not overly compacted or prone to waterlogging.

Moisture: Once established, Chinese Holly is relatively drought-tolerant and can withstand periods of dry soil. However, it benefits from regular watering, especially during hot, dry weather or when newly planted.

Protection from Wind: Chinese Holly may benefit from some protection from strong winds, especially in regions with frequent gusts or storms. Planting near a windbreak, such as a fence or larger shrubs, can help shield the plant from excessive wind exposure.

Space: Chinese Holly can vary in size depending on the cultivar, so it's essential to consider the mature size of the specific variety you're planting. Leave adequate space between plants to accommodate their eventual size and allow for proper air circulation and growth.

Landscaping Use: Chinese Holly is versatile and can be used in various landscaping applications, including hedges, screens, borders, and specimen plants. Consider its intended use in your landscape design when selecting a planting location.

Overall, the best place to plant Chinese Holly is in a location that provides adequate sunlight, well-draining soil, and some protection from harsh weather conditions, with ample space for the plant to grow and thrive.

Determining the gender of a Chinese Holly plant typically requires the presence of flowers or berries. Chinese Holly plants are dioecious, meaning individual plants are either male or female and produce flowers of only one sex. Here's how to identify the gender of Chinese Holly plants:

Flowers: Male Chinese Holly plants produce small, inconspicuous flowers that contain stamens but lack pistils. These flowers typically have yellowish stamens and may appear in clusters along the stems in spring. Female Chinese Holly plants produce flowers with a prominent pistil but lack stamens. The presence of flowers can help determine the gender of the plant, but flowers may not be present year-round.

Berries: Only female Chinese Holly plants produce berries, which develop from the flowers following pollination. The berries are typically green initially and mature to a bright red or orange color as they ripen. If your Chinese Holly plant produces berries, it is female. Male Chinese Holly plants do not produce berries.

If your Chinese Holly plant is not currently flowering or fruiting, it may be challenging to determine its gender definitively. In such cases, you may need to observe the plant over multiple growing seasons to identify any flowers or berries that develop. Additionally, purchasing a plant labeled as a specific gender from a nursery or garden center can ensure you select the desired gender for your landscape needs.

Yes, birds are known to eat the berries of Chinese Holly. The berries of Chinese Holly are attractive to a variety of bird species, including thrushes, robins, waxwings, and others. Birds are attracted to the bright red berries, especially during the winter months when other food sources may be scarce. In addition to providing food for birds, the presence of Chinese Holly berries can also enhance the overall biodiversity of the landscape, making Chinese Holly a valuable plant for wildlife habitat and conservation efforts. However, it's worth noting that while birds can help disperse the seeds of Chinese Holly, the plant itself should be monitored to prevent unintended spread and potential invasiveness in natural areas.

The best time to plant Chinese Holly is in the fall or early spring, typically from late September to early November or from late February to early April, depending on your specific climate and local conditions. Planting during these periods allows the Chinese Holly to establish its root system before the onset of hot summer temperatures or freezing winter conditions. Avoid planting Chinese Holly during the hottest part of summer or the coldest part of winter, as extreme temperatures can stress the plant and hinder its establishment. Additionally, planting during periods of mild weather with regular rainfall can help promote healthy growth and reduce the need for excessive watering during the establishment phase.

Yes, Chinese Holly is considered toxic to humans if ingested. Like many plants in the Ilex genus, Chinese Holly contains compounds known as saponins and glycosides, which can cause gastrointestinal irritation, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea if consumed in significant quantities. Additionally, the berries of Chinese Holly contain substances that can be toxic to pets if ingested. It's essential to keep Chinese Holly plants out of reach of children and pets and to avoid consuming any parts of the plant. If accidental ingestion occurs, it's advisable to seek medical attention promptly.

Chinese Holly is not generally considered invasive in most regions where it is cultivated. It is a popular landscaping plant valued for its attractive foliage, dense growth habit, and tolerance to a range of growing conditions. However, as with any plant species, Chinese Holly has the potential to spread beyond its intended boundaries under certain circumstances, particularly if it is allowed to escape cultivation and establish itself in natural areas. To prevent unintended spread, it's essential to monitor Chinese Holly plants and prevent the dispersal of seeds into natural habitats. Additionally, local regulations and guidelines should be followed to ensure responsible cultivation and management of Chinese Holly and other ornamental plants.

Chinese Holly is known for its cold hardiness, but its exact tolerance to cold temperatures can vary depending on factors such as the cultivar, age, and overall health of the plant, as well as the duration and severity of cold temperatures. In general, Chinese Holly is considered to be hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 7 through 9, which means it can typically withstand temperatures as low as 0°F to 10°F (-17°C to -12°C). However, some cultivars may exhibit slightly different cold tolerance levels, so it's essential to consider the specific characteristics of the variety you are growing when determining its ability to withstand cold temperatures. Providing protection such as mulching and windbreaks can also help Chinese Holly withstand colder temperatures more effectively.

Our Process

We have perfected packaging and shipping plants & trees! That is why we DO NOT use any third-party fulfillment like most other online retailers. Your trees go straight from our farm to your door, safely packaged by our team of seasoned professionals. Our process ensures your plants leave our facility and arrive to your door in the best condition possible!