Easily grown in average, medium moisture soil in full sun to part shade. Adaptable to both light and heavy soils, but prefers moist, acidic, organic soils with good drainage. A dioecious shrub: CHINA GIRL is a female plant and CHINA BOY is a companion male plant. Usually plant mostly CHINA GIRL because only females produce the attractive red berries which are so conspicuous in fall and winter. A planting needs at least one CHINA BOY within 400' as a pollinator for up to 9-10 CHINA GIRL plants. Prune to shape in early spring just before new growth begins. Good winter hardiness.
Ilex is a genus of over 400 species of evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs and climbers from tropical, subtropical and temperate regions. Many are grown for their attractive, evergreen foliage.
Genus name comes from the Latin name Quercus ilex for holm oak in reference to the foliage similarities (holm oak and many of the shrubs in the genus Ilex have evergreen leaves).
CHINA GIRL is an upright, rounded, dense, evergreen shrub which matures over many years to 7-10' tall by 5-8' wide. Often seen growing much shorter, however. Obovate, glossy, dark green leaves have spiny-toothed margins. Tiny, whitish flowers appear in spring and are relatively inconspicuous.
Potential insect problems include holly leaf miner, spider mites, 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).
These female plants produce red berries and are accordingly somewhat more attractive than the companion male plants. Females and males together have year-round interest and are excellent for foundation plantings, hedges, shrub borders or accents. Twigs may be cut and added to the Christmas wreath.