Ilex cornuta 'Carissa'

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Ilex cornuta (Carissa, Chinese Holly)

Carissa, Chinese Holly

Carissa grows best in rich, well-drained, slightly acid soil,and does well in full sun or part shade. The plant is very drought tolerant, requiring little, if any, irrigation once established in the landscape. Fertilization once or twice is all that is needed to maintain good leaf color and adequate growth.
Carissa Holly is a compact, dense evergreen shrub with small, glossy, dark green leaves, each with a single terminal spine. The somewhat-showy clusters of fragrant, springtime, white flowers are followed in fall and winter by some bright red berries. However, the berry display is mostly inferior to Ilex cornuta `Burfordii'. The shrub stays small, eventually growing to about 8 feet. Most plants are kept smaller than this. The plant occasionally reverts back to a `Rotunda' Holly leaf form, a plant to which it is closely related. This plant is considered mostly allergy free and causes little or no allergy problems in most people.
A dense rounded silhouette develops without clipping making it well suited for planting along a foundation. Plant 3 to 4 feet apart to form a hedge, farther apart in a shrub border. It is often used as a mass planting on commercial properties to form a tall ground cover or low shrub mass around parking lots. One yearly pruning can easily keep this plant in bounds in most landscape settings, unless it is clipped into a formal hedge. Two or three clippings may be needed for hedges. It shears fairly well, but will thin slightly toward the base, especially if not located in full sun.


Height
2-4 Feet

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Spread
3-6 Feet

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USDA Hardiness Zone 8A to 10A

Characteristics & Attributes

Attributes
Ground Cover
Evergreen
Exposure
Partial Sun/Shade
Growth Rate
Medium
Habit
Upright
Soil Moisture Needs
Average
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