Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata) is a small leaved evergreen shrub quite different to other types of Holly hedging. It has small shiny leaves, it is very similar in appearance to the Common Box hedge with the same type of bushy growth and it may be tightly clipped into almost any shape.
It makes a great Box hedge alternative, provided it is not planted in dense shade or waterlogged conditions. Like Box it is commonly used for small hedges but will also in time develop into a taller hedge up to 180cm if desired. Japanese Holly is an excellent hedging species that does not generally suffer from pests and diseases.
We sell a range of Holly types although they are all very similar, Ilex crenata ‘Green Hedge’ has small rounded glossy dark green foliage, Ilex crenata ‘Convexa’ is a slight variation and just as good. Both varieties have lighter and brighter new growth that gives an attractive two tone effect. ‘Golden Gem’ has tiny golden foliage that is especially bright in the chilly winter months. With these green and gold varieties, it is possible to recreate knot gardens, parterres and other designs especially where box blight has wreaked havoc, and safe in the knowledge that the new planting is not susceptible. Use Japanese hollies for all of the low hedges and edgings where Box was used previously.
These are low maintenance plants usually needing just a single trim in early to mid-summer, and maybe another light trim later on to tidy up any wayward stems.
We have many other small hedging species worth considering that will also make excellent small hedges or Common Box replacements including English Yew, Euonymus, Buxus ‘Rococo’ and ‘Faulkner’, Sweet Box and Lonicera.
Planting density is a matter of choice, as a guide we recommend 4-6 plants per metre for smaller 9cm plants and 3-5 per metre for the larger plants in 2 litre pots. See our guide on How to Plant a Hedge for more detailed information.
Please do give our sales team a call on 01580 765600 if you have any questions about Japanese Holly of any other hedging species, they will be pleased to help.