Plant of the Week: CASTLE SPIRE® Blue holly

It’s the holly-day season!

Okay, it’s well past the actual holiday season, but it looked like a snow globe in Michigan this week. Although it’s not ideal for driving, seeing the snow pile up on the conifers and holly sure is a pretty sight. It’s also lovely for snowshoeing, which is handy because my husband decided we needed snowshoes this past Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, I don’t think there’s a more iconic holiday plant than blue holly. I know some Poinsettia enthusiasts may disagree, but for me, those glossy pointed leaves and holiday-red berries light up any winter landscape.

Holly has long been used to help celebrate the Winter Solstice because it was strong enough to grow during the cold of winter. That’s especially helpful right now when the temps aren’t just falling; they’re crashing the ground. Symbolically, holly was also thought to be strong enough to ward off evil spirits and celebrate the new growth that comes in spring.

A strong landscape choice

Castle Spire® Ilex x. meservae is a beautiful, compact, pyramidal blue holly with large dark green leaves and superior branching.

It will produce bright red berries when planted near a pollinator like Castle Wall® blue holly. It’s hardy in USDA zones 5-7 and will get as tall as 6-10′ and 3-4′ wide. Just look at the strong statement it makes in the landscape!

Although it is the preferred pollinator for Castle Spire® holly, award-winning Castle Wall® (picture above right) is a handsome plant in its own right. It is a broadly columnar evergreen with lustrous dark green leaves and compact branching. It shares the same hardiness and will grow to 5-8′ tall and 3-4′ wide.

Honestly, what a great quadruple-duty shrub. It’s a gorgeous evergreen, great for holiday cuts, feeds wildlife, and wards off evil spirits!

Welcome, Samantha!

Hey folks, for those who didn’t know, the fingers clacking away at the keyboard to create this newsletter every week for the past five years have been those of Natalie Carmolli, Spring Meadow Nursery marketer and Proven Winners® ColorChoice® public relations specialist-extraordinaire!

I’ve really enjoyed sharing my thoughts and a little tidbit about a Proven Winners® shrub each week, but this year I resolved to find ways to create more space in my weekly schedule. So starting next week, your Plant of the Week posts will be coming from the amazing Samantha Huisman! Sam is an SEO & content specialist for Spring Meadow Nursery, and I look forward to seeing what she does to help bring the Plants of the Week to a broader audience.

Thanks for reading each week and for sending me your comments and requests. If you see a plant you love on this blog, you can still feel free to shoot me an email asking about it – I’m always happy to help. Keep growing! – Natalie

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