Virtues: This evergreen holly offers a compact size and dense growth habit with no pruning required. It bears a heavy crop of bright red berries from fall into winter. Attracts birds. Deer resistant.
Common name: Red Beauty Holly
Botanical name: Ilex Red Beauty (Ilex ‘Rutzan’)
Foliage: Dark green, glossy evergreen leaves in classic many-pointed holly shape.
Flowers/Fruit: Small white flowers in spring. Bright red berries ripen in fall and hold on into winter. Berries attract birds.
Habit: Evergreen pyramidal shrub, 7 to 10 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide at the base.
Season: Year-round evergreen interest. Fall to winter for fruit.
Origin: Bred by Dr. Elwin Orton of Rutgers University. It is a cross of blue holly (Ilex ×meserveae) and I. pernyi.
Cultivation: Hollies are dioecious, meaning there are distinct male and female plants, both of which are necessary for pollination and fruit set. (Only the females bear fruit.) Make sure to plant a compatible male holly within 100 feet of your Red Beauty holly. Any male blue holly (Ilex ×meserveae) should do, including ‘Blue Prince’, ‘Blue Boy’ and ‘Blue Stallion’. Grow in full to part sun, in moderately moist soil. Provide supplemental water in extreme heat/drought. Does no require pruning to maintain its form, but it can be sheared in winter if desired. Hollies are usually not palatable to deer, but appetites vary by region and stress. USDA Zones 6–10.
Top image courtesy Briggs Plant Propagators.
Bottom image courtesy Rutgers.
Find more winter beauties in Wonders of the Winter Landscape.
Figure out the right evergreen for each spot in your garden with Great Landscape Evergreens.
Make your garden more bird-friendly with Garden Secrets for Attracting Birds.