Ilex crenata ‘Caroline Upright’

Japanese Holly, Box-leaved Holly


Ilex crenata ‘Caroline Upright’ is a highly sought-after evergreen shrub, celebrated for its dense, compact, and upright growth habit, making it an excellent choice for various garden settings. This captivating Japanese holly cultivar exhibits glossy, dark green leaves, contributing to its year-round beauty and adding a touch of sophistication to the landscape.

With its low-maintenance nature, ‘Caroline Upright’ necessitates minimal pruning to maintain its desired shape. Its compact form and upright stature make it a perfect choice for narrow spaces, where it can effortlessly provide a sense of greenery and elegance. For this reason it is often used as a replacement for Box hedges.

Whether used as an attractive hedge, a formal border, or an ornamental accent in both traditional and contemporary landscapes, Ilex crenata ‘Caroline Upright’ effortlessly enriches outdoor spaces with its timeless beauty, elevating the overall aesthetic of any garden design. Embrace the allure of this versatile and evergreen shrub, and enjoy its year-round sophistication and greenery in your garden


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Origin: Eastern China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Sakhalin
Genus: Ilex
Species / Cultivar: crenata 'Caroline Upright'
Common Name: Japanese Holly, Box-leaved Holly

Plant Biography

The history of Ilex crenata ‘Caroline Upright’ can be traced back to its parent species, Ilex crenata, which is native to Japan and China. ‘Caroline Upright’ is a cultivar that was selected for its compact and upright growth habit, making it a valuable addition to gardens with limited space. The horticultural trade embraced this cultivar in recent years due to its versatile and low-maintenance nature, making it popular for both formal and informal landscapes and a perfect replacement for Box hedges. With its glossy dark green leaves and elegant appearance, Ilex crenata ‘Caroline Upright’ continues to be a cherished and widely cultivated evergreen shrub, enhancing outdoor spaces with its timeless beauty and sophistication.

Ilex crenata 'Caroline Upright'
Soil: Moist but Well Drained
Soil that allows water to drain at a moderate rate, without the water pooling.
Growth Rate: Slow
This plant is particularly slow to grow, even during growing season.
Situation: Full Sun to Part Shade
Enjoys direct sun most of the day, but tolerant of fewer sunlit hours or light dappling.
Eventual Height: 1.2-1.5m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 1-1.5m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Fully Hardy
Will survive unprotected outdoors in most areas of the UK, even in the harshest winters.
Habit: Evergreen
Always in leaf throughout the year. It won't lose all its leaves at any one time.
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

Ilex crenata’s versatility extends to its adaptability to a wide range of conditions. ‘Caroline Upright’ thrives in partial to full sun exposure and well-draining soil. Once established, it showcases drought tolerance, requiring minimal water, making it suitable for water-wise gardens. Additionally, its resilience against deer and pests ensures it remains unharmed in many garden environments.

During spring, this charming holly produces inconspicuous white flowers, which later give way to small black berries, further enhancing its appeal and interest in the garden.

Ilex crenata ‘Caroline Upright’ typically reaches a height of about 1.2 to 1.5 meters with a similar spread. This compact and columnar shrub requires minimal pruning to maintain its desired shape. Regular light pruning in late winter or early spring helps promote a neat and well-maintained appearance, making it an ideal choice for narrow spaces or formal hedges.


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