The Q&A Archives: Holly Stickers

Question: Does the Little Rascal Holly (Ilex X Mondo #4535)have sharp poking spines on the leaves? Would this holly grow well in a seaside garden on the west coast? It would receive wind and indirect salt spray, not located in the primary dunes. There is about 18" of soil above a bed of pure sand.
Can you recomend other plants for this location?
Thank you Jackie West

Answer: Little Rascal holly has the traditional spines you'd expect to find on holly leaves. It is an exceptionally cold hardy evergreen shrub. The dense, compact form has a rounded shape - growing to an ultimate size of 2 feet tall, 3 feet wide. Leaves are very small and heavily toothed. New foliage is purple-red, summer foliage is a good glossy green & winter foliage color is deep purple. It grows best in full to partial sun and is tolerant of salt spray. Since it's such a small shrub, you might want to hose it off occasionally to remove salt reside. If you'd rather not have a plant with spiny foliage, you might consider Osmanthus heterpyllus. The cultivar 'Goshiki' grows only 3' tall and about 5' wide which will fit your garden space well. Osmanthus is an evergreen shrub with holly-like foliage, but these leaves have no spines.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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