Dragon Lady® Holly Tree

Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Spacing: 8-15'15'
  • Exposure: Sun/Light Shade
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • Show more ›
Dragon Lady® Holly
Ilex pernyi x aquifolium 'Dragon Lady'
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Dragon Lady® Holly is a cool, slim, sophisticated evergreen Holly Tree with spiky leaves that say, “You can look, but don’t touch!” Don’t let her aloof personality put you off, though—this svelte pyramid of loveliness will make a valuable contribution to your landscape beds, adding structure and year-round greenery to your foundation plantings and outdoor living spaces. Plant a row of Dragon Lady® Hollies along your property line to form a classy-looking hedge, or use a single specimen as a powerful vertical accent piece. Unlike some other evergreen trees, this moderate grower will remain a manageable size and won’t overwhelm the space it’s given.

Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Spacing: 8-15'15'
  • Exposure: Sun/Light Shade
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • Show more ›

The Story

In the early 1950s, an amateur gardener in Long Island named Kathleen Meserve attended a garden club talk on Holly Trees. It was to be a momentous occasion in horticulture. You see, Mrs. Meserve loved the stately English Holly Tree, whose branches are used to deck the halls at Christmastime, but English Holly isn’t reliably cold-hardy in the northeastern states. So she decided to do something. She set out to breed her own hardy hybrid Hollies, armed with only a fifth-grade knowledge of botany and a paintbrush (to transfer the pollen from one flower to another). It was a rousing success. Kathleen Meserve introduced dozens of wonderful new hardy Hollies to the world, including Dragon Lady®, which was released in 1981.

The Details

If a suitable male Holly is in the vicinity, he’ll pollinate Dragon Lady’s tiny white spring flowers, turning them into festive red berries that will often last through the winter. In early spring, robins will happily navigate among the prickly leaves to feast on the colorful fruits.

How to Grow

Although Dragon Lady® likes to act tough, she does appreciate a bit of kindness. Plant her in good, rich, slightly acidic, freely draining garden soil in a location that doesn’t get baking afternoon sun. Not too much shade though! The foliage won’t grow as densely as it should if it doesn’t receive enough light. Protection from frosty winter winds is a good idea, too. Water regularly and mulch to keep the soil moist but not wet. To ensure that your Lady sets abundant fruit, a suitable male Holly must be nearby. Blue Stallion® Holly is the usual recommendation; Blue Prince® will most likely happily oblige as well.

More Info

Cold Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 5
Heat Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 9
Exposure Sun/Light Shade
Avg Mature Height 10-20'
Avg Mature Width Up to 6'
Spacing 8-15'15'
Leaf Color Green
Fall Leaf Color Green
Fruit Color Fruit
Fruit Time Fall/Winter
Attracts Butterflies No
Attracts Hummingbirds No
Attracts Pollinators No
Deer Resistant Yes
Drought Tolerant No
Dry, Poor Soils Yes
Fragrant No
Groundcover No
Native No
Salt Tolerance/Seashore No
Shade Tolerance No
Showy Flowers No
Wet Moist Soils No
Winter Interest Yes
Woodland Garden Yes
Decor/Craft Use No

Size Guide

Size Guide Scale

Scale

This graphic shows the approximate size and form of the Tree you are viewing.

Size B Trees:

5-6' Tall. Grown in our #10 or #15 tree container. This is a fun tree that will add a spark to your landscape.

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Dragon Lady® Holly Tree