Ilex Crenata: My Little Experiment
I was talking to a plant wholesaler around Christmas and he mentioned that as a hedging man I might be interested in Ilex Crenata or Japanese Holly as an alternative to Box Hedging. Japanese Holly looks almost identical to Box, slow growing with small round leaves, very different to our native prickly holly.
So I bought ten good sized plants to try out. Well I couldnít resist taking a few cuttings so I ended up with ten small plants and a hundred cuttings in the propagator. Thinking that they will soon grow back.
So what is the result? I left eight of the original plants outside and they are even smaller than when I cut them back. They didnít seem to like our ĎSummerí weather, not only have they not grown, but they seem to have died back to half their size.
I kept two plants indoors untill Spring. They doubled in size so I put them outside in a couple of planters to keep an eye on them. The good one kept its new growth but still looks a bit pale, and the other has died back just like the ones that were left outside.
A third of the cuttings have rooted and started growing in the propagator. I am not sure what to do with them. If I pot them up will they grow, or will they start going backwards like their parents?
So what conclusions can I draw? Firstly I am so glad that I didnít buy 500 which I was going to. The difficulty with trying out a new plant is that you cannot just go by the results from one year, next Summer they might shoot away if the conditions suit them better. The other question is what conditions were they grown in before I got them? They looked a bit forced when I got them so maybe they were a bit soft.
So where do I go from here. I will pot up the rooted cuttings into small pots to see how they get on over the Winter. Hopefully if they are hardened off they will be more successful, and all that I can do with the original plants is watch them.
So that was my little experiment with Japanese Holly, like most experiments it was inconclusive. Hey Ho.