The blue hollies form large, broadly pyramidal shrubs that make handsome hedges, group plantings, or individual specimens. Their spiny-edged evergreen leaves are a beautiful, glossy, deep bluish green. Like other hollies, these produce male and female flowers on separate plants. When pollinated, the female plants bear loads of shiny red fruits that provide a colorful winter show.
Common name: Meserve holly, blue holly
Botanical name: Ilex x meserveae
Plant type: Evergreen shrub
Zones: 5 to 8
Height: 8 to 15 feet
Sun: Full sun or partial shade
Soil: Loamy, acidic, with ample organic matter
Moisture: Evenly moist but well drained
Mulch: 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch such as wood chips or pine needles
Pruning: Prune lightly to shape only as needed
Fertilizer: Apply compost or diluted soluble fertilizer as needed
Pests and Diseases
Root rot in overly wet soils
- ‘Blue Boy’ is a good pollinator for ‘Blue Girl’.
- ‘Blue Girl’ is a fast-growing female with bright red fruit.
- Blue Maid produces showy fruit crops.
- Blue Prince is a cold hardy male.
- Blue Princess is an especially prolific fruit producer and has good cold hardiness.
- Blue Stallion can be used as a pollinator for any of the female blue hollies
- Golden Girl bears bright golden fruits that contrast nicely with its glossy bluish green foliage.
- The cultivars China Boy and China Girl are often counted as Meserve hollies, but they are a cross between prostrate holly and Chinese holly (I. cornuta). They are better adapted to heat and humidity than the blue hollies.
- In cold regions, plant Meserve hollies in protected locations to help prevent winter desiccation of the leaves.
- Though a little prickly, leafy stems of Meserve hollies make nice additions to winter bouquets.
All in the Family
- Meserve holly is a member of the holly family (Aquifoliaceae), which contains just three genera.
- Ilex is the most prolific genus in the holly family with about 400 species worldwide.
- Many holly species hybridize readily and there are now scores of hybrid holly cultivars in the nursery trade.
Where to Buy
Sooner Plant Farm, soonerplantfarm.com