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Ilex x meserveae BLUE PRINCESS

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Kemper Code:  D470

Common Name: blue holly
Zone: 4 to 7
Plant Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Aquifoliaceae
Missouri Native: No
Native Range: None
Height: 10 to 15 feet
Spread: 8 to 10 feet
Bloom Time: April - May   Bloom Data
Bloom Color: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low

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Plant Culture and Characteristics

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  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

Easily grown in average, medium moisture soil in full sun to part shade. Adaptable to both light and heavy soils, but prefers moist, acidic, organic soils with good drainage. Meserve hybrids are dioecious shrubs: BLUE PRINCESS is a female plant and BLUE PRINCE is a companion male plant. Plant mostly BLUE PRINCESS because only females produce the attractive red berries which are so conspicuous in fall and winter. A planting needs at least one BLUE PRINCE or other male pollinator such as BLUE STALLION within 400' as a pollinator for up to 9-10 BLUE PRINCESS plants. Prune to shape in early spring just before new growth begins. Good winter hardiness.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

This hybrid holly is a broad, upright, evergreen shrub which eventually matures to 10-15' tall by 8-10' wide. Often seen growing much shorter, however. Features dark purplish stems and glossy, blue-green leaves which have spiny-toothed margins. Tiny, whitish flowers appear in spring and are relatively inconspicuous. Fertilized female flowers give way to abundant, dark red fruit which persists throughout the winter.


No serious disease or insect problems. Occasional problems with holly leaf miners, scale and mites. If leaves yellow while veins remain green (chlorosis), soil acidity probably needs adjustment.


These female plants produce red berries and are accordingly somewhat more attractive than the companion male plants. Excellent year round interest. Foundation plantings, hedges, shrub borders or accents. Twigs may be cut and added to the Christmas wreath.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011