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Ilex crenata 'Golden Gem'

Japanese holly

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Key information

Plant type

Evergreen shrub


Fruit, Dramatic foliage



Skill level


photo by Adrian Bloom, copyright GAP Photos (43763)

Plant details

Quite unlike the popular conception of a holly, this is a yellow-leafed form of a slow-growing evergreen species from Japan and Korea. It has tiny leaves, similar to edging box, which are non-prickly and, if plants are trimmed once or twice a year, can produce an attractive dense dwarf hedge. The overall colour of plants is bright green suffused with golden yellow, although the gold is more prominent in winter and early spring. Plants are female but very seldom flower or produce the small black berries typical of the species. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Family: Aquifoliaceae

Genus: Ilex

Species: crenata

Cultivar: Golden Gem

Plant type: Evergreen shrub

Foliage colour: Golden

Feature: Fruit, Dramatic foliage

Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade, Shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Chalky/alkaline, Moist

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 110cm

Spread: 150cm

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