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Looking for a short holly recommendation

Posted by summerstar Z7VA (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 6, 09 at 14:27

I'm looking for a low growing holly, but one that has a regular holly leaf and red berries. I've gone onto several websites, but the lists are huge, so I'm hoping someone out there knows of a short one. I want to be able to keep it to four feet or so by pruning it, but not destroying its looks. I walk in a neighborhood where they grow two such plants, but they're second owners and don't know what variety the plant is. It's about three feet tall, with lots of points on the leaves and red berries; it also grows rather like a big cushion. Does anyone know of such a variety?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Looking for a short holly recommendation

Do you mean an **evergreen** holly or a deciduous one? I am looking at winterberry which is a deciduous one--showing lotsa berries many places in Harrisonburg. Some are less than 4' 'Red Sprite', for instance.

Any experience on how dry a soil winterberry will tolerate?

RE: Looking for a short holly recommendation

Sorry about not stipulating, but I'm looking for an evergreen holly in the four foot high range. I have second thoughts about a prickly leaf type cause it's pretty close to the back door and patio. Plus I'm thinking I'll have to prune it and picking up the cut branches would always be a problem. If you have any experience with a short evergreen variety, I'd like to hear about it.

We have a deciduous type that might fit the bill for you. We kept the white label and it says Ilex 'Sparkleberry'. A 3 gallon plant cost us $19.98. The label says, "medium growing deciduous broadleaf shrub hardy to about -35 degrees F. Insignificant flowers - large bright red berries - likes sun."

We have ours trimmed into a clump with only several stems to look like a small tree. I suppose you could grow it as a shrub. It would look great either way. The red berries are gorgeous in the winter because they're so bright against the drab winter background. Plant a male along with it to get a lot of berries. Try finding the male called 'Apollo'. I had no trouble finding either of these at a local full-service garden center. 'Sparkleberry' is a hybrid off the Ilex verticillata group, the same group that 'Red Sprite' is in. I have to tell you though that 'Sparkleberry' will get 15' tall compared to the 3 to 5'tall Red Sprite' you've been looking at. It's advised to get a male for 'Red Sprite' too. Michael Dirr's book suggests that 'Jim Dandy' or 'Apollo' will pollinate 'Red Sprite'. The Dirr book says it's "compact, rounded, persistent, bright red, 3/8 to almost 1/2" diameter fruit, larger than typical. Lustrous dark green leaves." Sounds good if you want the shorter type.

We're near the Wintergreen ski resort and had a long stretch of very dry weather in July and August last year. All three of our Sparkleberry plants are established three years and did just fine with little water. We did water them probably twice during that two month period, but not because they looked bad. We just felt sorry for them. I probably gave you more information than you cared to know, but what the heck!

Let me know about a short evergreen holly if you know of one.

RE: Looking for a short holly recommendation

Here's a list from American Plant:

Also check Greenspring Gardens. Their lists look useful because they have notes about hardiness, etc.

RE: Looking for a short holly recommendation

Where did you get the 3 gal. Sparkleberry?

Thanks for the info.


RE: Looking for a short holly recommendation

We purchased them at Waynesboro Garden Center in Waynesboro. They're located on Rt. 250, just outside of the downtown area. They should be available at any large garden center. Andre Viette has them at his home in Fishersville, but they're quite tall; probably 12 feet. Those aren't the 'Red Sprite' you're talking about. Good luck. Hope you can find them come spring.

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