University of Maryland Extension: Plant of the Week
Ilex x meserveae
Photo and text by Marian Hengemihle
If you are seeking berries and beautiful holly foliage, these hybrids are the plants for you.
Meserve hollies are an entire group of hybridized plants including Blue Hollies, the China Series, and others.
The growth habit of these broadleaved evergreens ranges from dense and shrubby to pyramidal. They can serve as hedges, specimens, understory plants, or informal barrier plantings.
Cultivars sport blue-green or green shiny leaves with spines on the leaf margins. Small white flowers are produced in April/May and attract pollinators. Female plants produce bright red berries in autumn. You will need a specific variety of male pollinator nearby for good fruit set.
Robins, catbirds, and mockingbirds relish the berries and can take refuge in the canopy. Most hollies in this family grow to about 8 feet in height and width, but it varies by cultivar.
Prefers moist well drained soil in full sun to partial shade. Plants are cold hardy but avoid windswept locations that dry out leaves. Little pruning is needed for these carefree evergreens