Ilex crenata 'Caroline Upright' DARK STAR

Ilex crenata 'Caroline Upright'
Ilex crenata 'Caroline Upright' DARK STAR
Japanese holly, box-leaved holly
SIZE/TYPE medium-sized shrub
 taller shrub
LEAVES evergreen broadleaf
LOCATION full sun to shade
SOIL TYPE acidic (peaty) to neutral
SOIL MOISTURE REQUIREMENTS evenly moist but well-drained
USDA zone (lowest) 5b   (down to -27°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
Hedging plants
náhled fotonáhled foto
Many people mistake Japanese holly for English box thanks to its small, evergreen leaves. This resemblance was also the main reason why it was chosen to become the hardy substitute for true box which is dying all around Europe as well as in the UK. Japanese holly a versatile, evergreen, and almost maintenance-free plant available in many varieties offering different shapes and sizes.

Caroline Upright or DARK STAR is a selection of Japanese holly with upright growth and deep green leaves. Those are small, broadly elliptic, and very glossy. In mid spring opens a profusion of small, creamy white flowers serving plenty of bee food. It is a female variety so if pollinated by a male plant from nearby they are followed by small, black berries in autumn. They are not edible nor poisonous for people but contain saponins which cause severe discomfort if eaten in quantity. They are important bird food in winter. Stems are pale grey-green.

It grows about 20-30 cm per year and naturally forms dense, upright growing, many-branched shrubs. You can use it like a box plant - in the same spot or a container or among other large-leaved, evergreen plants to which its delicate foliage will provide a great contrast. As every other Japanese holly it is ideal for bonsai making as well as for hedging. It can be pruned and clipped in almost any way from early spring by end July.

Japanese holly is usually trouble-free, tolerates any soil apart from compacted (clay) and boggy, and can withstand summer dry spells once established. However, for best results and leaf colour grow it in medium fertile, moist but well-drained acid soil. Fully hardy to abt. -27°C (USDA zone 5b) and suitable for outdoor planters, too.

Last update: 09-09-2022

Ilex crenata
Ilex (maximowicziana var.kanehirae)
  • 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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