Ilex aquifolium ‘Ferox Argentea’

hedgehog holly

  • © Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

Hedgehog holly has very curious leaves. They are variegated with white and, in addition to marginal spines, they bear a pincushion of spines on their upper leaf surfaces as well. This clone is male, meaning that it cannot produce berries and become a nuisance in wild places. (The red spheres that show in this November photo are the dormant flower buds.) Hedgehog holly is most available in late fall and winter, as it is often sold for planting in winter containers, where it looks especially fine. This shrub-that-wants-to-be-a-tree can be planted in a group, for screening or as a barrier plant, or used alone as a focal point. It can also be used as a hedge. Emphasize the winter interest of hedgehog holly by combining it with yellow-stemmed dogwood, witchhazel and masses of Christmas rose. Hedgehog holly's evergreen leaves are decorative year 'round. Needless to say hedgehog holly is excellent when cut for Christmas greens.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: shrub

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 15 ft. 0 in. (4.57 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 8 ft. 0 in. (2.44 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 25 ft. 0 in. (7.62 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 to 9

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun to deep shade

Water Requirements: drought tolerant when established

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: silver, burgundy, black

Great Color Partners: dark green, gold, cream

Culture Notes
This tough holly is durable and long-lived and grows in a wide range of soils from sandy sites to clay as long as drainage is adequate. It will grow well in full sun to deep shade. The growth is denser and more colorful in brighter conditions. Once established it is drought tolerant. The best time for pruning is winter and early to mid-summer. It is easy to shape and can easily be kept to a smaller size through regular clipping.