Ilex crenata

Ilex crenata ‘Dark Green’

Ilex crenata ‘Dark Green’

Ilex crenata

Box-leaved holly or Japanese holly

  • Position:  full sun or partial shade
  • Soil: well-drained soil
  • Flowering period: May
  • Foliage: evergreen
  • Hardiness: fully hardy

Ilex crenata, commonly known as box-leaved holly or Japanese holly, is a useful, tough, evergreen shrub that looks good all year round. This shrub has attractive, small, dark green leaves and produces insignificant white flowers in spring, followed by black fruits.

Ilex crenata grows best in a sunny position or partial shade in well-drained soil. Suitable for making topiary.


Ilex crenata ‘Dark Green’

Ilex crenata ‘Dark Green’ and Ilex crenata ‘Luxus Hedge’ are compact, bushy evergreen shrubs, bearing small, round, green leaves similar in appearance to buxus. Ideal for low edging hedges. A good alternative to box hedging.

Ilex crenata ‘Convexa’

Ilex crenata ‘Convexa’ is slightly different with dark green leaves that are convex.

Ilex crenata ‘Golden Gem’

Those who want golden yellow leaves try  Ilex crenata ‘Golden Gem’. This low-growing evergreen shrub will brighten up a dark corner of the garden. Its low height also makes it useful for ground cover.

Ilex crenata Dark Green
Ilex crenata ‘Dark Green’ topiary ball    Leaves of  Ilex crenata ‘Dark Green’


When and how to trim ilex crenata hedges (Japanese holy). Trim the hedges in early summer (June) to keep them dense and compact. If necessary, prune again in September.

Ilex crenata (Japanse holly) grown as shrubs need little pruning unless some shaping is required. Remove damaged or misplaced branches in spring.

Growth rate of Ilex crenata

Hedges such as Ilex crenata ‘Dark Green’ and Ilex crenata ‘Luxus Hedge’ will grow between 10-20cm yearly.


Ilex crenata. When to plant. Pot grown Ilex crenata can be planted any time from March till the end of October. Add plenty of compost to the soil before planting. Postpone planting if the weather is frosty.


Apply a 5cm layer of compost around the base of the plants. Do this job in spring.

Plant combination

Ilex crenata grown as shrub works well with Nandina domestica and Photina.

Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’