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Steeds Japanese Holly Shrub for Sale - Buying & Growing Guide
With its glossy, dark green leaves and handsome pyramidal form, the Steeds Japanese holly, Ilex crenata 'Steeds,' adds elegance and weight to the formal or informal garden. This shrub, especially when planted in multiples, can form the backbone of your garden, providing an attractive backdrop to more colorful perennials, marking boundaries, and offering four seasons of interest. In spring, the bushes are covered in tiny white flowers, which, if pollinated, lead to ornamental purple-black berries in winter that are attractive to songbirds. Although the Steeds Japanese holly prefers acidic soil, it's not fussy about the type of soil in which it's planted and thrives in loam, clay, or sandy soil. Here are a few more reasons to plant an assortment of these holly shrubs in your garden.
- The Steeds Japanese holly takes well to pruning and is easily shaped to form hedges or other forms.
- It grows well throughout much of the continental U.S.
- It doesn't require any specialized care or upkeep and is disease- and pest-resistant.
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The Steeds Japanese holly does best in full sun — six or more hours of direct light a day.
Give your shrub 1 inch of water a week, or water whenever the soil is dry 2 inches below the surface.
Fertilize your Steeds Japanese holly with a slow-release, general product designed for landscape plants.
Planting and Care
Choose a site for your Steeds Japanese holly with soil that is acidic and drains well. Although the shrub can handle some shade, it does best in a spot with at least six hours of direct sunlight. Unpot your shrub and tease out any encircling roots, which can girdle the tree and slowly kill it. Dig a hole that’s as deep as the root ball and two to three times as wide. Place the shrub in the hole, spreading out the roots. While holding it upright and steady, fill in around the roots with topsoil, tamping down as you go to eliminate air pockets. Water thoroughly. Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch, such as bark chips, around the root zone to conserve moisture and hinder weed growth, but don’t let the mulch touch the trunk, as this can cause rot.
Watering and nutrients
Water your Steeds Japanese holly about once a week, giving it an inch of water each time. If your weather is very hot or dry, you may need to water more often. To know if it needs water, dig down about 2 inches near the root zone. If the soil there is dry, give your shrub a drink. Fertilize in early spring with a slow-release, balanced fertilizer designed for landscape trees and shrubs.
The Steeds Japanese holly is dioecious, meaning that male and female flowers occur on different plants. If you want your bush to have berries, which are well-liked by songbirds, you will need to plant more than one bush and plant them in a grouping that includes both male and female varieties.
Although pruning is not required, you may wish to shape your tree, which should be done in late winter. If left unpruned, the bush will naturally grow to a pyramidal or rounded form. You should also monitor your tree for any dead, diseased, or damaged limbs, which should be trimmed out when you see them.
Pests, diseases, and animals
Pests that may occur on your Steeds Japanese holly include aphids, scale insects, and holly leaf miners. A healthy tree should be fine with minor infestations. If pest pressure persists, consider releasing predatory insects such as ladybugs and lacewings, which eat the pests. Potential diseases include leaf spot, powdery mildew, and leaf scorch. The bushes are also prone to chlorosis, which is a yellowing of the leaves, if they are planted in alkaline soil.
Achieving maximum results
Knowing how to use this attractive bush in your garden can help you achieve maximum results. One primary use is as a hedge or windbreak. To do this effectively, plant your shrubs somewhat closer than otherwise, leaving 4 to 5 feet between each one. If you wish for a formal hedge, prune as needed in winter. The Steeds Japanese holly is also attractive when used as a foundation planting, and it can add interest and texture to Asian-inspired gardens, cottage gardens, and contemporary settings.
Where can I grow a Steeds Japanese holly?
This sturdy shrub can be safely grown in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 8. That includes locations as far north as the Pacific Northwest and coastal Maine and south as far as northern Florida and most of Texas. Outside of its natural regions, it can be grown in a container and brought indoors when temperatures dip below -10 degrees Fahrenheit.
How big will my Steeds Japanese holly get?
When planted in an amenable site, a healthy Steeds Japanese holly can reach heights of 6 to 8 feet, with a width of 5 to 6 feet. You can control this growth through judicious pruning. A shrub grown in a container may not grow that large, depending on the size of the pot.
Is the Steeds Japanese holly evergreen?
Yes, it is. In fact, winter is one of its best seasons when considering interest in the garden. In winter, the shrub will display not only its glossy dark green leaves but also, if pollinated, the purple-black berries that are so beloved by winter songbirds.
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