Blue Maid Holly (Ilex meserveae ‘Blue maid’) Zone 5 to 9
Blue Maid Holly is one of the hardiest Hollies in the meserveae family (Blue Hollies). They have small dark blue-green leaves that show veins. The leaves are somewhat sharp and leathery. In late spring to early summer Blue Maid Holly will get an abundant amount of small white flowers that are not fragrant. The flowers are nice, but they are not the main attraction, the bright red berries are. They appear in late summer to fall depending on your growing zone. The berries will hang on the shrub for months and will make Blue Maid holly a focal point. Blue Maid Holly have stems that are an attractive feature also, they have a purple color as does the trunk. Often confused with Blue Princess Holly, Blue Maid Holly will get slightly bigger and the leaves are more broad. It can grow up to ten feet tall and eight feet wide if left untrimmed, but most people keep Blue Maid Holly trimmed to about four feet tall and wide.
Blue Maid Holly Landscape Use
Blue Maid Holly has many uses in a landscape. They make a good foundation shrub and can be planted under windows, in front of an air conditioner to block view, planted in a semi circle around a dwarf tree on the corner of a house, or one on either side of a door. When using Blue Maid Holly as a foundation shrub, keep it planted at least four feet away from sidewalks and houses to prevent extra trimming. They also make a good hedge to block wind and view. When using it as a hedge, space them four to five feet away from each other. If you want a formal look you can plant a row of Blue Maid Holly on either side a sidewalk or a driveway and keep them trimmed into a box shape or a round shape.
Blue Maid Holly Facts
Mature height: They grow 8 to 10 feet tall if untrimmed but you can keep them at a height if 3 to 5 feet if trimmed twice a year. It is rare to see them at a height of eight feet.
Mature width: The mature width is 6 to 8 feet wide but can easily be kept at a width of 3 to 5 feet if you trim them twice a year.
Soil type: Blue Maid Holly will grow in most types of soil. I have seen them growing in very poor soil and still growing pretty good.
Growth rate: They are a pretty fast grower, growing 2 to 3 feet per year in the right conditions.
Moisture: They will grow in most conditions. Do not plant them in standing water. They will need a good watering for the first couple of months until the roots are establishes and in extreme drought.
Flower: The flower is very small and white. The flower is not one of the key features because they are to that flashy.
Seed: Blue Maid Holly is known for the bright red berries they get in mid summer to fall. They measure about 1/8 of an inch and are very abundant.
Winter color: They get a little bit darker in the winter but still keep a good green color. The will still have some of the red berries hanging on throughout the winter months.
Maintenance: The maintenance is moderate to high. If you want to keep them in a perfect round or square shape or keep them at a smaller size, they will need to be trimmed 2 or 3 times per year.
Sun exposure: They grow best in full sun to part shade. They do grow in shade but the foliage will not get as thick and they will grow much slower.