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Beauty meets utility in the impeccable Blue Princess Holly. Spiky blue-green leaves clothe its purple stems all year long, painting a pleasing picture even during the depths of winter. Glossy red berries add to the show until songbirds carry them away. This evergreen Holly will add the Finishing Touch to your foundation plantings, providing welcome color year-round. Use it to provide structure to this high-visibility area by your front door and to anchor your home to the landscape. Blue Princess also makes an excellent hedge to serve as an elegant property divider, privacy screen, and backdrop to your flower beds.
- Hardiness Zone: 5-9
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The story of the Blue Princess Holly is a remarkable one. It began on Long Island, where an amateur gardener named Kathleen Meserve lived. Meserve had a special fondness for Hollies, but most of the Hollies available to gardeners in her day weren’t dependably cold-hardy. They were English Hollies, adapted to the mild climate of that country, not the icy winters of New York. Most gardeners would have simply given up on Hollies, but Meserve had another idea. She learned how to breed them and hybridized her own cold-hardy new varieties! She bred Blue Princess in the 1950s; it was introduced in 1973. Today it’s one of the most popular Hollies in the country.
Blue Princess Holly responds well to pruning—the more you trim it, the fuller and thicker its foliage gets. With regular pruning, you can keep it to any size you like. In winter, the clippings make for festive Christmas decorations!
How to Grow
Blue Princess Holly is tougher than many other Hollies, but it does prefer a moderate climate. It performs best with protection from icy winter winds; at the other extreme, it struggles in the Deep South because of the intense heat there. Give it part shade or full sun, but avoid baking-hot southern and western exposures. Apply water regularly if no rain falls, making sure the soil doesn’t remain soggy. Blue Princess needs a male Holly nearby at flowering time in order to produce berries. Blue Prince or China Boy will do the trick. Plant about one male for every five females.
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