Plant of the Month
December 6, 2021 by James Cooper
If we had to choose one shrub which says winter it would be the Holly and more specifically the Silver Holly or Ilex aquifolium ‘Argenteovariagatum’ to give it it’s full title.
This Ilex manages to be both sturdy and delicate at the same time, with glorius cream edged leaves forming a dense pyramid shaped shrub or small tree. During the late autum and into winter crimson berries appear adding to the show. Allowed time this holly will reach 12 metres as a tree but is rather slow growing so easily pruned to a small dense mound or even as an unusual hedge.
As with most hollies this one prefers well drained soil but is happy in either a sunny spot or a north facing, shady site. Usefully it is tolerant of pollution and doesn’t shy away from a coastal, garden with salty winds.
If attracting wildlife is important, a holly gives good cover for birds and is a useful plant for attracting pollinationg insects, mainly bees. The insignificant flowers offer a food source for many insects including the lava of moths and butterflies.
This particular holly is a female so don’t forget to plant a male one nearby to allow pollination and subsequent berries.
We like to team this variagated holly with either Mahonias or Choisyas to best show off the beautiful foliage.
So what are you waiting for?