Virtues: Don’t expect berries from this male holly, but it has enough other outstanding attributes to make that a non-issue. An evergreen bred at the University of Georgia, it has excellent form all year as well as some added color when new foliage emerges. New leaves are deep red in hue, before they shift to bright green. The foliage is very dense, with a luster that highlights the shrub’s overall texture. This holly is easy to shear or shape into topiary, though it maintains a pleasant pyramidal shape on its own, for those who do not want to prune.
Common name: Ruby Colonnade holly
Botanical name: Ilex x crenata ‘RutHol5’
Exposure: Full sun
Foliage: The small leaves are evergreen and a deep olive color for most of the year. New growth in spring is dark red. The foliage is dense and it has a distinct sheen, highlighting the shrub's form.
Habit: Ruby Colonnade grows 10 to 12 feet tall and 8 feet across at its widest. Unsheared, it maintains a pyramidal shape.
Origin: Developed at the University of Georgia. Introduced to the market by Monrovia in 2022.
How to grow it: Plant in full sun and provide regular water. The soil should drain well. If you wish to prune this holly, do so in late winter or early spring. Light shearing to maintain a certain size and shape can be done in late spring and again in late summer if necessary. USDA Zones 7–9.
Image courtesy of Monrovia.