Ilex aquifolium 'RUBRICAULIS AUREA'

Ilex aquifolium
Ilex aquifolium  'RUBRICAULIS AUREA'
varigated holly
SIZE/TYPE medium-sized shrub
LEAVES evergreen broadleaf
COLOUR OF LEAVES varigated:yellow and green
FLOWERS insignificant or non-blooming
LOCATION full sun to shade
SOIL TYPE acidic (peaty)
SOIL MOISTURE REQUIREMENTS evenly moist (dislikes drought)
USDA zone (lowest) 5   (down to -29°C)
FOR ZONE 5+6 Code of winter protection zone 5+6
FOR ZONE 7 Code of winter protection zone 7
BELONGS TO CATEGORIES Evergreen broadleaf
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English hollies are among the most common evergreen and native plants of milder parts of Europe with high humidity – British Isles, north France, Benelux countries, and milder parts of north Germany. Various species form trees, shrubs, or thickets. They are absent from natural Central European landscape but can be cultivated without problems. They are renowned for glossy, often prickly leaves, and multiple variegated forms have been selected for garden cultivation.

Rubricaulis Aurea is supposed to be the hardiest holly from the aquifolium group with varigated foliage. The leaves are deep green in the centre with thin, yellow margins which turn pink in cold months. They are less prickly than most other yet there are small spines along the margins. It is a female variety producing a few red berries from late summer if pollinated by a male variety nearby.

It grows more slowly compared to other English hollies, yet it easily reaches a minimum of 2m in C.E. climate and eventually grows some 4m tall in zone 6. In milder climate it gets up to 6m tall and 4m wide. The habit is somewhat broadly irregular. To maintain a compact form you can prune it twice a year. First, at the beginning of spring remove all unsightly and dead branches and reduce the longest previous year’s growths by a half. Then, if needed, in mid-summer give it a light trim cutting off only the branch tips as if you were shearing a hedge.

Grow hollies in moist but well-drained, fertile soil. They can take periods of drought once established but dislike compacted, heavy-clay-based soils that turn very dry in summer, and often too wet in winter. If your soil is such, dig the planting hole only half the depth of the root ball, refine what you dig out and mix well with quality substrate of highly acidic level (low pH value). Using this mixture make a gradual slope from the stem to the original ground level and tamp it down as much as you can. Your root ball should not look like a molehill but more like a wide and flat mound. Mulch it well and keep watering it more often as it will be more prone to drying out as opposed to most common flat-in-the-ground transplanting. Hollies do best in full sun but can also grow in shade where they will lose their compact habit. Before and during winter when the soil is not frozen provide good watering. Rubricaulis Aurea is reliably hardy down to at least -27 °C and can take short spells of a few degrees lower (USDA zone 5).

Last update 12-01-2008; 12-02-2023

Ilex aquifolium
Ilex aquifolium (syn.
Ilex aquifolium
  • STANDARD QUALITY - Plants of this group are 1st class quality with number of branches and overall density adequate to their size and age, considering they were container grown.
  • DE LUXE QUALITY - This label guarantees a luxurious quality of manually selected plants that, compared to their height and age, are exceptionally dense and beautiful.
  • EXTRA - These plants are usually mature and bigger specimens with exceptional overall appearance.
  • STANDARD (as described in the plant form) means a tree with a trunk of 190-210 cm and a crown at the top, unless specified differently. The commercial size for trees is their girth measured in the height of 1m from ground.
  • HOBBY - These plants are of the same quality as our standard-quality plants but younger and therefore cheaper.
  • SHRUB - a woody plant with branches growing bushy from the ground level.
  • HALF-STANDARD or MINI-STANDARD - a small tree with shorter trunk, its size is usually specified.
  • FEATHERED - These are trees with branches growing already from the base of the trunk and up along the stem.
  • GRASSES and PERENNIALS - Sizes given usually read the diameter of the pot or the clump, as specified.
LARGE PLANTS over 150 cmspecimens, screening and hedging shrubs

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