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Ilex crenata

I'm planning to use Ilex crenata making a low hedge in my potagee. i believe the plant requires acidic soil with i dont have naturally, so will have to incorporate plenty. Has anyone successfuly grown this plant to the healthy standard? they dont seem to create thick plant like the box but ive decided not to use box any more.

so, is Ilex crenata a sickly unreliable plant?

Posts

  • rachelQrtJHBjbrachelQrtJHBjb South BucksPosts: 805
    I bought two Ilex crenata to trial them as an alternative to my box balls, which had succumbed to box moth caterpillar. I have slightly acidic soil. I found both were poor at producing fresh foliage and their habit resulted in sparse growth in a different directions. One then lost most of its foliage and was removed last year and the other has grimly held on but I'm taking it out. My experience did not match that of Wisley where it's planted in the "box alternatives" garden and looks superb.

    Other options would be Euonymus 'Green Rocket' or, as I have now opted for, Pittosporum 'Golf Ball'. The pittosporums only went in last spring but put on good growth and have been clipped once. However, so far we have had a mild winter and I wonder what a harsh one would do to them. I lost P. 'Irene Patterson' in a very cold winter.

    Others may have better experience of Ilex crenata than me.


  • I love Ilex in general and have had a few experiences worth mentioning. Firstly, they do dislike being moved. They tend to shed leaves and look bare for a couple of years. However, after that, they seem to recover and will leaf out again nicely as they get more established. They don’t like drying out. 

    As to soil pH, I have grown a specimen plant in heavy alkaline clay, and it did very well. After several years it caught an inkspot disease—I think from infected Escallonia a couple of streets away. At that point I had to remove it. The thing I observed was that they really hate drying out, so during the establishment phase you need to water them well, and adding organic mulches is also a good idea.

    They will never replace Buxus ‘Suffruticosa’, the dwarf hedging variety, so I suppose we have to wait for a new dwarf sport from a resistant form.
  • @rachelQrtJHBjb — I love Pittosporum, so this recommendation is really useful.
  • jackpjackp Posts: 33
    I love Ilex in general and have had a few experiences worth mentioning. Firstly, they do dislike being moved. They tend to shed leaves and look bare for a couple of years. However, after that, they seem to recover and will leaf out again nicely as they get more established. They don’t like drying out. 

    As to soil pH, I have grown a specimen plant in heavy alkaline clay, and it did very well. After several years it caught an inkspot disease—I think from infected Escallonia a couple of streets away. At that point I had to remove it. The thing I observed was that they really hate drying out, so during the establishment phase you need to water them well, and adding organic mulches is also a good idea.

    They will never replace Buxus ‘Suffruticosa’, the dwarf hedging variety, so I suppose we have to wait for a new dwarf sport from a resistant form.
    That’s interesting what you said about moving them .I had to move a big one for someone in the heatwave last year which didn’t look very hopeful but cut it back a bit prior to digging and gave it lots of water and then mixed in stable manure to the new planting hole .it came back very well and was shaped into a new topiary ball .
    There was also another one was had been untouched for about 15 years which after a few years of ongoing pruning I transformed into a Japanese style topic tree and now looks very attractive .
  • @jackp , yes, I suspect I should have cut mine back more than I did, but it also happened on a very healthy smallish plant which was tended really well, and it took a couple of years for it to recover, though it did in the end. Maybe it is connected to changing soil type/exposure. 
  • thank you for your thoughts, guys 
    your experience is whats invaluable  
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 4,990
    I don't grow them myself but I volunteer at Capel Manor  college, & I have heard from the senior gardeners there they require much more water than box. I agree that Pitisporum is a very versatile shrub.  
    AB Still learning

  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 2,302
    Interestingly the curator of Wisley mentioned on instagram yesterday that their Ilex is very short lived there...I replaced my box with yew and small leaved euonymus and a year later I'm quite happy with them. The yew is as dependable as you would expect and the euonymus has responded really well to trimming, as we want it to get denser and remain low, will get another trim when the weather warms up but have high hopes for it and it was very cheap. Couldn't find a more recent photo of the small hedge of euonymus, but that photo below is last March (ignore the messy grass on its side). 




    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • Interesting. Thank you, AmancalledGeorge, i might go this route now - the look of this variety of euonymus is much more like what im looking for. Thank you for your suggestion.
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