Plant of the Week: December 24, 2020

I’m a self-admitted fanatic when it comes to hollies in my landscape. I have to be careful to stick with types that can handle our alkaline soils, but even with that obstacle before me I still find a lot of great options.

“Dazzler” is an appropriate name for this holly. Its berries are almost marble-sized, and they last all winter long.

The first time I ever saw Dazzler hollies was back in the 1970s. They and a similar, but shorter/smaller variety known as Berries Jubilee, had been introduced by Monrovia Nursery Company from California.

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Berries Jubilee, we were told, would grow to be 3 to 5 feet tall and Dazzler 5 or 6 feet tall and wide. Each had deep green, spiny leaves, and each was introduced for its large clusters of extremely showy berries that hung on the plants all winter.

Dazzler hollies in the Sperry landscape. I love its texture and year-round good looks.

Somewhere along the line I lost my Berries Jubilee hollies. By the time I got around to replacing them I found that they and Dazzlers as well were no longer being offered in the nursery trade. The trends, I was told, were toward softer looks without spines. I can understand that, but I will also say that, having grown hollies in my own landscape for 50 years, I’ve never been hurt even once by their spines. You just learn to respect them. I wouldn’t trade hollies’ durability and year-long good looks in sun or shade for anything, but that’s just me.

So, at least for now, I introduce Dazzler holly to you. It’s a winner that needs a place in more gardens.

In the meantime, when you need a great plant to serve you faithfully, if there’s a holly that’s suited to your soils and climate, it would be one of your very best candidates.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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