Growth Facts

Chesapeake Holly

Ilex crenata 'Chesapeake'

This Tree is not available for Sale at this time through Bower & Branch. Bower & Branch provides this information for reference only. Please check back with us or contact us for more detail.

There aren’t many pyramidal evergreen trees that stay small without regular pruning, but the Chesapeake Japanese Holly Tree is one naturally petite tree that fits the bill when you need some year-round color in a tight spot. More than simply a problem-solver, though, this dapper little tree is a pleasure to look at, with tiny, polished, rich green leaves and a dense and tidy habit. Chesapeake Holly responds well to shearing if you want to make an even more formal specimen of it. You can also fashion it into a classy hedge by planting several trees about 3 ft. apart.

Growth Facts

The Story

Native to Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan, Japanese Holly was a staple in Asian landscaping long before it was introduced to the rest of the world. It is the plant traditionally used in the ancient Japanese topiary art of niwaki, or “cloud pruning.” Japanese Hollies weren’t grown in European gardens until 1864, and none were grown in the U.S. until 1898. It’s now a very popular plant around the world, and new selections are still being introduced. No one is sure where and when Chesapeake Japanese Holly originated (Chesapeake, perhaps?), but the first mentions of it were in nursery catalogs in the 1970s on the East Coast.

The Details

Nearly all Hollies are “dioecious,” which means that plants are either male or female. The males do the pollinating (with the help of bees), and the females produce the berries. Chesapeake Holly is a female, and it gets black berries in late summer if a male Japanese Holly is in the neighborhood. The black fruits aren’t as showy as the red berries of some other Hollies, but they’re glossy and pretty, and they may attract songbirds to your yard who are looking for a snack.

How to Grow

Chesapeake Japanese Holly performs best in moderate climates and appreciates a sunny or partly sunny site that is sheltered from strong winds. This is a tree that doesn’t like to dry out completely, so regular irrigation during dry periods is critical to success. On the other hand, Chesapeake Holly doesn’t want to be in constantly soggy soil, so make sure that drainage is good. Japanese Hollies love acid soil, and they may turn chlorotic (yellow) if the pH is too high. If Azaleas and Rhododendrons are common in your area, then you probably have acidic soil. Our growers are standing by at if you have any questions about how to grow this handsome evergreen tree.

Size Guide

Size Guide Scale


Size: B

Size B

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

Size B Trees:

4-5' Tall. Grown in our #15 tree container this is sure to make a great accent piece to your landscape.

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