Virtues: We love Ilex crenata ‘Steeds’ for its lustrous deep green foliage that becomes darker with age, keeping gardens in green color all year. Small white flowers bloom in early spring followed by tiny, dark purplish-blue berries in late summer throughout winter. These are frequently enjoyed by wildlife.
Common name: 'Steeds' Japanese holly; Japanese holly; 'Steeds' upright holly; 'Steeds' holly
Botanical name:Ilex crenata ‘Steeds’
Flowers: In spring through summer, discrete white flowers bloom followed by an abundance of small, purple-blue berries in fall lasting throughout winter. However, Ilex crenata ‘Steeds’ is more commonly grown for its charming, triangular-shaped evergreen foliage.
Foliage: Glossy, ovate, rich green leaves densely cover the upright branches creating a lush, tidy display perfect for hedging or stand-alone plants.
Habit: With a compact, pyramidal form, these vigorous shrubs typically reach 6 to 8 feet in height and 5 to 6 feet wide.
Season: Japanese holly has year-round interest with its broadleaf evergreen foliage.
Origin: Selection of a species native to northeast Asia
How to grow Ilex crenata ‘Steeds’: Steeds holly will thrive when planted in moist, acidic, well-drained soil with regular watering. These easy-to-grow plants prosper in full sun to part shade and can be fed a general fertilizer in spring, before new growth begins. They are very responsive to pruning and can be sheared annually to shape, making them a great choice for a hedge, for flanking the entrance of the house or placed elsewhere in the foundation bed. USDA Zones 5–9.
Image courtesy Monrovia
Trim your favorite hedges with a sturdy pair of Topiary Shears.
Read Cass Turnbull’s Guide to Pruning for a quick guide on what, when, where and how to prune for a more beautiful garden.
In the Horticulture Smart Gardening Techniques: Shrubs you will have instant access to insightful articles on various shrub-related projects.
Want great do-it-yourself landscape design techniques? Check out the Smart Gardening Series: Landscaping Ideas.
Download the Smart Gardening Series: Foliage Plants for dozens of stunning foliage plants perfect for your garden.