Easily grown in acidic, moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best fruit production occurs in full sun, but plants generally appreciate some part afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Foliage tends to open up as the amount of shade increases. Avoid poorly drained soils. Mulch will help retain soil moisture and deter weed growth. Prune in winter if needed. Hollies are dioecious (separate male and female plants). In order to set fruit, female plants need a nearby male pollinator. DRAGON LADY is a female cultivar. I. ‘Blue Stallion’ and I. ‘Blue Prince’ are reportedly good pollinators. DRAGON LADY is winter hardy to USDA Zone 6. In the St. Louis area, it should be sited in protected locations.
Ilex x aquipernyi is a cross between I. aquifolium (English holly) and I. pernyi (perny holly). ‘Meschick’, commonly sold under the trade name of DRAGON LADY, is a female cultivar that grows as an upright, symmetrical, very narrow pyramid, eventually maturing to 10-20’ tall and to 4-6’ wide. Spiny, ovate-quadrangular, evergreen, dark green leaves are attractive year round. Scarlet fruits mature in fall and remain on the plant through winter. DRAGON LADY is sometimes listed as a meserve hybrid, but belongs under Ilex x aquipernyi. U. S. Plant Patent PP4996 was issued on March 15, 1983.
Potential insect problems include holly leaf miner, spider mites, spittlebugs, whitefly and scale. Potential disease problems include leaf spot, leaf rot, tar spot and powdery mildew. Plants are also susceptible to leaf drop, leaf scorch and chlorosis (yellowing of leaves in high pH soils).
Hedges or screens. Specimen or accent. Columnar form fits into narrow locations. Foliage and fruit provide good color for the winter landscape.