Scarification: Soak in water, let stand in water for 24 hours
Stratification: warm stratify for 120 days, cold stratify for 120 days
Germination: sow seed 1/4" deep, tamp the soil, mulch the seed bed
Other: seedlings need shade for their first year , Sporadic germination will occur over a 2-3 year period
Ilex crenata, also known as Japanese Holly or Box-Leaved Holly, is an attractive evergreen shrub or small tree native to eastern China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Sakhalin. It can grow up to 3-5 meters (rarely 10 meters) tall and has a trunk diameter of up to 20 centimeters. The glossy dark green leaves are small, measuring 10-30 mm in length and 10-17 mm broad, with a crenate (wavy) margin, sometimes spiny. The plants are dioecious, meaning they have separate male and female plants, and produce white, four-lobed flowers. The fruit is a black drupe, about 5 mm in diameter, containing four seeds.
Ilex crenata is highly versatile and can be used in various landscaping applications. It is frequently grown as a hedge in North America and Japan due to its excellent ability to tolerate trimming. Its compact, dense foliage adds texture and elegance to any garden, making it a popular choice among gardeners. The plant is also an excellent option for topiary, with its small leaves and responsiveness to shaping.
There are numerous cultivars available, offering a range of characteristics. Some have variegated leaves, such as 'Golden Gem' and 'Shiro-Fukurin', while others have dark green foliage like 'Green Lustre'. 'Bad Zwischenahn' has greyish-green leaves, while 'Ivory Hall' produces yellow fruit. When selecting a cultivar, options with an erect, spreading, or dwarf habit can be chosen based on specific needs.
Ilex crenata is well-suited to acidic soil, with a pH range of 3.7 to 6.0. This adaptable species thrives in different climates and is capable of withstanding temperature fluctuations. Not only does it provide year-round greenery, but it also attracts birds with its fruit.
Whether you need a versatile hedge, an ornamental focal point, or a plant for topiary, Ilex crenata is an excellent choice. Its classic beauty and adaptability make it a go-to option for both professional landscapers and gardening enthusiasts.