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Holly Hedging Guide

Holly Hedging Guide

Holly (Ilex Hedging Plants)

Holly or Ilex, is a genus made of 400-600 species including both evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs and climbing plants. Native to the UK and across Europe, its natural presence can be found in woodland and hedgerows, especially in oak and beech woodland. Their status as a garden feature is becoming more and more popular in gardens across the country for its ornamental value, practical characteristics and wildlife interest.

The attractive, evergreen foliage of the traditional Holly hedge plants (Ilex aquifolium) we supply, make striking hedges that provide constant cover throughout the year. Their distinctive appearance can be easily identified by their prickly, glossy green leaves that hold contrasting colours as their undersides show lighter tints of green with a soft texture, compared to the smooth, dark shaded top. Their seasonal interest starts in spring as small flowers produce and this showcases white colours and remain throughout summer. Red berries appear in Autumn which linger on the branches throughout winter.

These wonderful features are not only loved by the nation, but also adored by heaps of garden wildlife for their numerous benefits. The thick, evergreen foliage and dense structure of Holly hedge plants create the ideal nesting site, offering shelter and protection as its spiky leaves deter predators and the year round cover contributes to wildlife survival during Winter. The fantastic flowers attract beautiful butterflies, bees and other pollinators, whilst the Autumn berries are favoured amongst a range of British birds and small animals.

With an average annual growth rate of 10-20cm, our Holly hedge plants require little maintenance. This allows you to enjoy the multiple benefits of these fantastic hedging plants without the constant upkeep which other species need. You can go one step further by including a self-irrigation kit to your Holly hedgerow so you can keep your plants healthy from the comfort of your living room.

Our Holly Hedge Plants

Choose Ilex aquafolium for its distinguishing foliage that makes a beautifully classic, ornamental hedge. Suitable for hedge heights up to 4m, it creates a tall decorative display that forms an effective privacy screen, wind break and intruder deterrent. In autumn, the glossy red berries contrast incredibly with the dark green foliage, creating an exquisite colourful feature that persists throughout winter and is often used in festive displays.

Its slow growth rate Holly hedge plants can take their time to reach your desired height, however we supply these plants from 20cm up to 1.5m tall, so you can reach your ideal stature in a shorter period of time. Available as Bare Roots and Root Balls in their dormant season, Holly trees can be purchased year round in containers and as a professionally maintained, ready-made instant hedges.

Also known as English Holly, this hedging plant is perfect for those tricky gardening sites as they thrive in both sunny and fully shaded positions, grow in any moist or normal soil and can withstand the salt laden winds of exposed coastal sites along with the pollution of exposed inland environments; the ultimate hardy plant. Our root ball English holly is the Ilex aquafolium 'Alaska' variety which, while not a native plant, is denser when planted as a root ball, creating a better looing hedge.

Frequently related and symbolic to the holiday season, it’s used in and out of the garden for its artistic appearance which has long been used as the main element in wreaths and can be found inside houses as decorations to create that warming Christmas atmosphere. Within the garden, Holly shrubs can be used to create both informal and formal aesthetics. For an alternate Holly hedge plant, consider the variegated foliage of Silver Holly. Also known as Ilex aquifolium ‘Argentea Marginata’, this cultivar exhibits the same practicalities of English Holly but parades eye-catching leaf colours of dark, glossy green leaves with cream coloured margins. Native to the UK, both English and Silver Holly looks fantastic as a single species hedge, but bring diversity in the form of unique texture, shape and everlasting colour when collaborated into a mixed hedgerow.

For the perfect low growing garden hedge, consider Ilex crenata. Ideal for hedges up to 1m, you will see this species in numerous garden designs as it is utilised for its ability to establish structure by creating a compact, formal looking border that enhances the presence of garden paths, features, larger plants and its delightful green colour exaggerates colourful plants by acting as a wonderful backdrop for small bulbs.

Like all of our Holly plants, Ilex crenata bring seasonal interest by showcasing white spring flowers, followed by black Autumn berries that remain throughout winter and entice a range of British birds to your garden. It’s best to let our feathered friends enjoy these fruits to themselves as they are harmful and not fit for human consumption.

Also known as Japanese Holly, Ilex crenata doesn’t possess your stereotypical Holly leaf figure. Its small, oval shaped, glossy green leaves actually hold similar aesthetics to Box and Euonymous Jean Hugues, two species we suggest as low growing alternatives, but the hardy nature of Ilex Crenata makes the best choice for difficult growing sites. You can purchase the multipurpose Japanese Holly year round as we supply these plants in containers or professionally maintained, time effective, ready-made hedges, and are also available as Root Balls in their dormant season.

Trim your Holly hedge plants annually to encourage new bushy growth that can then be left to produce a natural look, or cut during the growing seasons to ensure that it remains tight to maintain a compact hedge that can be fashioned into certain forms or topiary styled shapes.

Problems with Holly Hedging

With the abundance of positives that come with Holly hedge plants there comes one small problem. Rabbits have the tendency to damage the main trunk of Holly plants, especially young plants. Don’t worry, this problem can be prevented with our rabbit guards and will only effect gardeners located near woodlands or rabbit populated areas.

So whether you want a practical hedge with screening properties, beautiful foliage, year round cover, seasonal interest or to utilise as an effective addition to a garden design or mixed hedgerow and will thrive in difficult conditions, Holly is the perfect hardy hedge plant for you.

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