How to Plant Helleri Holly

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Though native to Japan, Helleri holly, or Ilex crenata, is a popular shrub in North America for hedges, borders and groundcover. With its glossy, deep green leaves and black, white or yellow berries, this slow-growing evergreen plant reaches between 3 and 6 feet in height and spreads 5 to 8 feet wide. It's also a low-maintenance shrub, tolerating a variety of soil conditions and resisting most pests and diseases. Helleri holly is an excellent choice for gardeners looking to grow large rows or masses of dense green plantings, since individual shrubs will eventually grow together to form a large spread.

Things You'll Need

  • Helleri holly shrub
  • Slow-release acidic fertilizer
  • Compost (optional)
  • Choose a planting site with partial shade to full sun and moist, well-drained soil.

  • Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball and the same depth as the plant sits in the container.

  • Place shrub in the center of the hole, filling in with the original soil and adding compost if soil quality is poor; space each holly shrub 3 to 4 feet apart to create a hedge or further apart for a shrub border.

  • Add a thick mulch to the base of the plant and water thoroughly.

  • Keep soil evenly moist, providing about an inch of water every week if rainfall is not enough; one deep weekly watering is better than frequent shallow waterings.

  • Prune annually, making sure that the top of the holly is narrower than the bottom to provide adequate sunlight to the lower foliage and prevent thinning.

  • Fertilize in spring and fall with a slow-release, acidic plant food.

  • Expect white flowery blooms in late spring to early summer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Helleri holly makes a beautiful formal hedge since its small, dense leaves are easy to shape; you'll probably need to prune it about three times each year to maintain shapeliness.
  • This shrub is noted among allergy sufferers as a generally allergy-free plant.
  • Helleri holly grows well in hardiness zones 5 through 8 and can adapt to many conditions, including wind, pollution, slope, heat and humidity.
  • Gardeners whose plants are plagued by wildlife will be happy to learn that Helleri holly is resistant to deer and rabbits.
  • Helleri holly can tolerate sandy, clay and loamy soils, as well as soils that are mildly acidic or alkaline.
  • Helleri holly is susceptible to nematodes, spittle bugs, spider mites and scale but rarely suffers any serious or long-term damage from pests.

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