The current images on this page are not great because I took them of plants growing wild in a very heavily wooded area on my property. But I will explain why I decided to use them.
Years ago when I first started landscaping houses in 1979 one of my favorite go to plants, an evergreen that I used in almost every design that I did was Japanese Holly. There are a lot of different Japanese Hollies with Ilex Hetzi being one of the most popular. But I don’t usually put Hetzi in an area close to the house because they tend to get too big too fast. So my favorite Japanese Holly is Ilex Crenata ‘Green Lustre’.
Japanese hollies are notorious for their glossy, dark green leaves that are not flat, but somewhat curved. All though Green Lustre holly can get as large as 4′ by 4′, they can also be easily trimmed to a much smaller size.
What prompted me to write is article is that I was out back trying to clean up the wooded area on my property and I kept seeing all of these what appeared to be Ilex crenata ‘Green Lustre’ holly bushes growing in a scattered pattern in my woods. Obviously distributed there from seeds dropped from birds or maybe even other animals that eat the berries.
But what really caught my attention was that these evergreens, grown from seed, completely untrimmed, actually looked pretty good given the fact that they were growing in dense shade.
And that’s when I dawned on me that I should be growing Ilex crenata ‘Green Lustre’ for that very reason. People are always asking for great plants for shade! My discovery is living proof that this evergreen can thrive in shade and with a bit of pruning, unlike the ones in my woods, they can be beautiful.
This plant attracts song birds because in mid fall this plant is loaded with black berries that the birds love!
Ilex crenata ‘Green Lustre’ is hardy in zones 4B through zone 8.
This is another one of those plants that is disappearing from American landscapes being replaced by new introductions that are patented or carry trademarked names. Our job as backyard growers is to make sure these beautiful never become extinct.
So now I have to find a few as stock plants so I can start propagating them. Propagation is easy, you can do them in summer this way; https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/mikes-plant-propagation-kit/, or do them in the Winter as Hardwood Cuttings. As hardwood cuttings they will be quite slow to root where the summer cuttings should root in about 6 weeks.
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