Itea ilicifolia


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Key information

Plant type

Evergreen shrub

Flower colour






Skill level


photo by Neil Holmes, copyright GAP Photos (28253)

Plant details

This tall evergreen shrub from China looks rather like a bright holly, its glossy leaves armed with sharp teeth along the edges. It makes a solid pleasant backdrop of foliage when grown against a wall, the perfect foil for colourful summer flowers. In late summer the striking and unusual display of catkins emerges, really long drooping racemes of tiny greenish white, fragrant flowers. Plants tolerate shade well, and are very hardy although cold winds can damage the shoots and foliage, and young plants are best protected over winter. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Family: Escalloniaceae

Genus: Itea

Species: ilicifolia

Plant type: Evergreen shrub

Flower colour: Green

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Flowers

Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade

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

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Experienced

Height: 400cm

Spread: 300cm

Time to take cuttings: April to June

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