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Ilex Meserveae 'Blue Maid' - Holly hedge

Ilex Blue Maid

Ilex Blue maid is a frost-resistant variety of holly which is widely used for hedging purposes. The branches of this plant have a shiny, blue-green color. It is mainly grown for its ornamental value because of its attractive, bright red berries. However, this plant should be planted next to its male variant ‘Blue Prince’ to produce the berries. The plant has prickly leaves to protect against intruders. For this reason, it is recommended that you wear protective clothes and gloves when pruning because the thorns may injure you. This female variety is poisonous; therefore, you need to be careful when handling it.

Growing Ilex Blue maid

As mentioned about, Ilex blue maid is a female variant of holly. When pollinated by the male variant, they produce white flowers in spring followed by red berries that ripen in fall and consumed by birds in late winter.

Why you should grow Ilex Blue Maid

This cultivar can be used as a specimen plant, hedge plant, or in mixed borders. Here are a few reasons as to why you should consider growing this female holly:

  • The plant has an upright, broad growth habit and can achieve a maximum growth height and width of 1.8m and 300cm respectively
  • Honored with the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and also the recipient of the Cary Award, which recognizes hedge plants that are resistant to pests, winter hardy in zone 5, offer superior landscape appeal and ideal for New England
  • Disease and pest resistant
  • Tolerates full sun to partial shade and grows in both light and heavy soils, but will do even better in moist, acidic soil
  • Require low maintenance
  • Fills out the ground perfect; therefore you don’t need facer plants
  • It can last up to 40 years when grown under optimal conditions
  • Adds to the local biodiversity of your landscape
  • The small rounded berries that turn red upon ripening add beautiful decorations to a garden

Where to grow

Ilex Blue maid appreciates full to partial sun and moist, well-drained acidic soil. It’s also recommended to grow it in sites sheltered from cold winds. Eventually, it attains considerable size and should be trimmed accordingly. Because this species is dioecious, you should plant one male for three or five female hollies.

How to plant

For Ilex Blue maid to establish and grow quickly, you have to plant them properly. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Give the clod a good soak before planting
  2. Prepare the planting area by getting rid of grass and other weeds
  3. Dig a trench twice the width and same height as the clod
  4. Break the bottom of the trench and mix in some manure
  5. Gently place the clod in the trench, ensuring that it stands straight and clod doesn’t protrude above the ground surface
  6. Backfill the soil in the trench slowly as you firm it around the roots of the plant as you go
  7. Water to settle the soil around the roots
  8. Cover the area with bark or leaf mulch, but don’t pile it onto the trunk of the plant
  9. Water the plant deeply


  • It is recommended to wear protective clothing and gloves when pruning this female holly
  • The plant is poisonous and should not be ingested by humans and animals
  • Keep the plant well-watered during the first growing season
  • Ilex Blue maid doesn’t transplant well; therefore, you should consider buying the plant’s full-grown size


If you want to create a good hedge, you have to space your Ilex Blue maid plants well. Planting too far apart will take a much longer time to form a compact hedge whereas planting too close will lead to overcrowding. The recommended planting space is two to three plants per meter.

Care & Advice

Here are a few care and maintenance tips for Ilex Blue maid:

  • Watering

Woody plants should be watered less frequently than herbaceous plants or tender annuals. Ilex Blue maid can go for weeks without supplemental water except during extreme windy or hot weather. When watering from a sprinkler or hose, you should do it slowly and deeply, but not frequently to avoid root disease.

Give the soil some time to dry a few centimeters before irrigating. In arid climates, you will want to use drip irrigation and water at least twice a week to keep moist. You should also be prepared to water the soil during prolonged dry spells even in winter. Also mulch the planting area to prevent water losses to the environment.

  • Pruning

It is important that you prune Ilex Blue maid for size control as well as for the safety of pedestrians. Pruning also helps to remove disease or dead plant parts or train the plants into hedges or any other interesting shape.

Broadleaves can be cut as hard as needed back to the trunk. Fresh growth will sprout near the cut ends. Prune your Ilex Blue maid plants in late winter or spring depending on when they flower

  • Fertilization

Feed the plant in its early growing cycle with a generic N-P-K fertilizer. Follow the application instructions on the fertilizer park


  • Frost resistant
  • Cut-resistant
  • Perfect for formal hedges
  • Produces decorative bright red berries
  • It has prickly leaves that keep intruders away
  • Grows into a compact hedge
  • Grows in many types of soils

Should I buy Ilex Blue Maid for my hedge?

Yes, Ilex Blue maid is one of the best hedging plants you can buy today. With its prickly leaves, it will keep intruders away. However, you need to trim it when a need to do so arises to keep pedestrians safe.

This is the perfect plant for anyone looking for a hedge plant that will last longer. With up to 40 years on its books, the plant can provide year-round production for a long time. In addition, it produces small round red berries that will give your garden that colorful look. However, they should not be ingested because they are poisonous.

The fact that it is frost-resistant means that you can grow it in cold areas. Feel free to contact us for more information today.