A genus of one hundred and fifty species, evergreen and deciduous. It is highly ornamental, its stately habit of growth and its bright glossy green, undulate, prickly leaves making it one of the most popular of shrubs. When covered with a heavy crop of its bright crimson berries, it is exceedingly effective in the garden from November to early Spring.
There are many varieties of the different species which are highly ornamental; some of them, with variegated leaves, should be in every collection however small. The Holly stands pruning into almost any shape and makes an excellent hedge though of slow growth, it taking seven or eight years to grow a holly hedge five feet in height, but from its first appearance above ground it is pleasing and should be more frequently used for this purpose.
The Holly delights in a semi-shaded spot in a sheltered place, away from harsh winds and strong sunshine, and loves moisture at the root during the growing season.
Ilex opaca, the Southern Holly, ought to be seen more commonly than it is, and should stand our dry Summers much better than the European or Japanese species.
Propagate by seeds sown in the open ground. As soon as the seeds are ripe, place them in wet sand for the Winter, and, when the fleshy pulp is completely rotted, sow them in drills or beds and cover them with one-half inch of light soil; shade the young seedlings with branches for the first year; when the seedlings are four inches high, transplant them into nursery rows one foot apart; transplant them at least every two years until wanted. The variegated varieties can be propagated only by grafting. This should be done in early Spring before growth commences, using seedlings of the common Holly as a stock.