Ilex crenata (Japense Holly) Topiary Ball
Position: Full sun to deep shade; stands exposed sites
Soil: Any well drained but moist soil, acid or alkaline
Rate of growth: 10-20cm per year
Flowers: Tiny white flowers in spring
Fruit: Small glossy black fruits from late summer
CAUTION: Toxic if eaten
Among plants that will readily form compact evergreen balls and domes, Japanese holly is one of the best choices for the modern garden. An easily grown little plant, it responds well to annual trimming and, in time, makes super-dense growth. Ilex crenata is, as yet, not that well-known in gardens, but its small glossy, oval, dark-green leaves are really similar to those of box (Buxus), yet this plant has far fewer serious pest and disease problems. Choose Japanese holly to add that essential touch of structure to borders in sun or semi-shade, somewhere well drained. In summer you may see tiny white flowers and these develop into black fruits.