Holly - Latin name Ilex, are a familiar, favourite garden shrub. Hollies are often associated with Christmas, and the right planting combination of Hollies will produce winter berries. However Holly is a good addition to the garden and to a shrub border; the brightly variegated foliage will cheer up a dark corner and Hollies will tolerate partial shade. Holly is a tough shrub, tenacious and once planted usually survive and thrive, the only drawback is that Hollies are slow growing. Hollies are best planted in sun or at least partial shade as they need sun to produce the brightest variegated foliage. Hollies look well in a shrub or woodland border, and also as a specimen shrub. Given that they are slow growing buying a more mature specimen maybe a good idea. There are many evergeen shrubs which are fast growing if you want to create a screen or privacy but Holly is not one of them. It can take up to 20 -25 years for a Holly Shrub or Tree to reach maturity and full size. Slow growing can also be an advantage. If you have ever planted a shrub in an ideal spot only to discover within a couple of years or so its getting to big for its allocated space, you will know then the dilemma of either moving it, or very regular pruning to keep it in check.
Hollies prefer soil to be on the moist side but well drained and are best planted late winter or early spring. The can be trained into a standard which can look very attractive in a mixed border. They can also be grown in a coastal garden and tolerate urban pollution.
Hollies are suitable to make a wind resistant hedge, and once planted resent transplanting. An easy maintenance free shrub. In terms of size and spread many Hollies are large, 12- 20 metres is not uncommon. Most gardens will require something much smaller, there are a few compact varieties such as 'Golden Gem' up to around 1 m, 'Wiesmoor Silber' 2.5m it is always worth checking the eventual size on the plant label.