Ilex Blue Prince
Ilex Blue Prince is a winter-hardy variant of holly which is grown to form a hedge. Its branches have a shiny, blue-green color and should be planted next to its female variant holly Blue Maid. When pollination takes place, the female variant produces decorative, bright red berries.
The holly blue prince has prickly leaves that protect your garden against intruders. It is recommended to wear protective clothing and gloves when pruning because the thorns may injure you.
Growing Ilex Blue Prince
Ilex Blue Prince is an excellent plant for structural framework and they provide shelter and food for wildlife. Since this is an evergreen shrub, some leaves may be damaged in winter by the harsh winds or frost; however, in spring, new leaves will replace the damaged leaves rapidly.
Why you should grow Ilex Blue Prince
Here are a few reasons as to why you should grow this male variant of holly:
- They grow faster than the female variant
- They have large, eye-catching leaves that provide the screening and privacy you need in your landscape
- They are fairly low-maintenance hedge plants, but you need to plant them in slightly acidic soils and water them thoroughly during the first growing season
- The plant looks nice and has dense foliage with no defoliated twigs even when left without pruning for a long time
- They can also tolerate low temperatures of up to -34°C, making it the perfect hedge plant for growing in cold areas
- Create a hardy evergreen hedge preventing intruders from gaining entry into your garden because of their prickly leaves
- The plants can also be grown in mixed borders with their deep blue-green foliage providing a great backdrop for flowering plants
- Suitable plant for formal hedges
- They maintain their evergreen color throughout the year
- They are cut-resistant
Where to grow
Ilex Blue Prince grows easily in average, slightly acidic, well-drained soil in either full sun or partial shade. In hot summer climates, the plant will appreciate part afternoon shade. It is also a good idea to plant it in areas that are protected from cold winter winds. And since Hollies are dioecious, plant one male for every three to five female variants
How to plant
For Ilex Blue Prince to establish and grow quickly, it has to be planted properly and under optimal conditions. This is also important in ensuring that the plant provides long-term screening and privacy. Here are the steps you need to follow:
- Give the clod a good soak before planting
- Prepare the planting site by removing grass and weeds. You can use a fork to do this or a weedkiller. But if you use the latter, you will have to wait for a few days to see the results
- Dig a trench twice the width and same height as the clod and ensure that both sides of the trench are straight
- Loosen some soil at the bottom of the trench and mix in some manure. This is important in ensuring that the roots establish quickly in the soil
- Gently position the clod in the trench, ensuring that the clod doesn’t protrude above the ground surface
- Fill back the garden soil as you firm it around the clod with your hands
- Water the soil to settle around the roots of the plant
- Apply a layer of mulch around the planting area and ensure that it does not touch the trunk of the plant
- Water the area deeply
- Wear protective clothing and gloves when pruning to avoid being injured by the sharp thorns
- The plant is poisonous; therefore, you need to pay attention to this
- Loosen the soil at the bottom of the trench before planting to help the roots establish quickly
- Don’t plant Ilex Blue Prince too deep in the trench to avoid stem and root rot
Like other hedging plants, you need to space Ilex Blue Prince properly in order to create a thick, compact hedge. The recommended spacing distance for this variety is two to three plants per meter
Care & Advice
It is important that you care and maintain your Ilex Blue Prince plants so that they can establish quickly and grow well. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Once Ilex Blue Prince is established, they generally don’t require much water. However, they will need frequent watering at first and should not be left to dry out.
Generally, Ilex Blue Prince in the ground is less demanding and may require feeding with a general purpose fertilizer. This is unlike shrubs in containers that require more feeding.
This male variant of holly will also benefit from mulching as it will help to suppress the growth of weed, conserve moisture and provide the required nutrients. In addition, mulching improves soil conditions.
Mulch your Ilex Blue Prince plants in late winter after applying fertilizer, but you can mulch throughout autumn to late spring provided the ground is damp.
Prune the plant for pedestrian safety and size control, to get rid of diseases or dead branches or to shape or train the plants. Prune the plants in late winter or late spring depending on when the plant flowers
- Maintains its evergreen color throughout the year
- Ideal plant for small hedges
- Prickly leaves keep intruders away
- Can form a think hedge
- Grows faster than the female variant
Should I buy Ilex Blue Prince for my hedge?
Ilex Blue Prince is a great hedge plant that can provide all-year screening and privacy to your garden. Its prickly leaves will keep intruders away but you have to trim them for pedestrian safety.
This plant can also stand very low temperatures of up to -34°C, which makes it a great plant for cold regions. The fact that it grows faster than the female variant means that you can create a compact hedge in a short time. In addition, the plant maintains its evergreen color throughout the year, which is great for people who live in dry areas. However, you have to water the plant at least once a week during the dry season