China girl holly hedge

China Girl Meserve Holly fruit

China Girl Meserve Holly fruit

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

China Girl Meserve Holly

China Girl Meserve Holly

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

China Girl Meserve Holly foliage

China Girl Meserve Holly foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 10 feet

Spread: 10 feet


Hardiness Zone: 5b

Other Names: Blue Holly


One of the hardiest evergreen hollies, this is a large, spreading shrub with the traditional spiny blue-green foliage and showy red berries in winter; requires a male pollinator, often paired with China Boy

Ornamental Features

China Girl Meserve Holly is primarily grown for its highly ornamental fruit. It features an abundance of magnificent red berries from mid fall to late winter. It has green foliage. The spiny oval leaves remain green throughout the winter. The flowers are not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

China Girl Meserve Holly is a dense multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with a more or less rounded form. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance shrub, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. It is a good choice for attracting birds to your yard. It has no significant negative characteristics.

China Girl Meserve Holly is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • Hedges/Screening
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

China Girl Meserve Holly will grow to be about 10 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 10 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn’t necessarily require facer plants in front, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more. This is a female variety of the species which requires a male selection of the same species growing nearby in order to set fruit.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It requires an evenly moist well-drained soil for optimal growth, but will die in standing water. It is very fussy about its soil conditions and must have rich, acidic soils to ensure success, and is subject to chlorosis (yellowing) of the leaves in alkaline soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid.

China Girl Meserve Holly makes a fine choice for the outdoor landscape, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its height, it is often used as a ‘thriller’ in the ‘spiller-thriller-filler’ container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag – this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Meserve holly

Shape and Form

8 to 15 feet high; size varies by cultivar; rounded to upright form.

Tree & Plant Care

Best in shady, moist, extrememly well-drained acid soil. Avoid overly wet sites.
Winter drying of the evergreen foliage causes dieback and browning of leaves, especially in open exposed sites.
Water well in fall before soil freezes.
An anti-dessicant spray may help to reduce water loss from the evergreen leaves in winter month.

Disease, pests and problems

No serious pests.
Winter leaf desiccation is a potential problem.
Chlorsis can be a problem in high pH soils.

Native geographic location and habitat

Hybrid plants derived from crosses between Ilex rugosa (Prostate Holly) and Ilex aquifolium (English Holly) and crosses between Ilex cornuta (Chinese holly) and Ilex rugosa.

Bark color and texture

Bark is green, turning brown with age.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate, evergreen leaves; 1 to 2 inches long with spines along the margin.
Foliage is evergreen, so no fall color.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Inconspicuous; male and female flowers on separate plants.
Male must be planted near females so the females will be pollinated and set fruit.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Red berry-like fruit (drupes) on female plants only; persist into winter.

Cultivars and their differences

Blue Girl holly (Ilex x meserveae ‘Blue Girl’): Female cultivar, 6 to 8 feet high; pyramidal form. ‘Blue Boy’ is male pollinator.
Note: Berri-Magic®Kids Holly is ‘Blue Boy’ and ‘Blue Girl’ planted in the same container; only one container is needed to ensure pollination and fruit production.

Blue Boy holly (Ilex x meserveae ‘Blue Boy’): Male cultivar growing 6 to 8 feet high; nonfruiting Male pollinator for ‘Blue Girl’ Holly.
Note: Berri-Magic®Kids Holly is ‘Blue Boy’ and ‘Blue Girl’ planted in the same container; only one container is needed to ensure pollination and fruit production.

Blue Princess® holly (Ilex x meserveae ‘Blue Princess’): female cultivar; 8 to 10 feet high; fruit production heavier than other cultivars. ‘Blue Prince’ is male pollinator.

Note: Berry Magic® Royalty Holly and ‘Royal Family’ are both ‘Blue Prince’ and ‘Blue Princess’ planted in the same container; only one container is needed to ensure pollination and fruit production.

Blue Prince® holly (Ilex x meserveae ‘Blue Prince’): Male cultivar; 6 to 8 feet high; maintains good leaf color in winter. It is a pollinator for ‘Blue Princess’.
Note: Berry Magic® Royalty Holly and ‘Royal Family’ are both ‘Blue Prince’ and ‘Blue Princess’ planted in the same container; only one container is needed to ensure pollination and fruit production.

Emerald Magic® holly (Ilex x meserveae ‘WillEmer’): Male cultivar; 3 to 4 feet high, a broadleaf evergreen shrub with dense foliage, which takes on a burgundy tinge in winter.

Hybrids related to the Meserve hybrids:

China Boy® holly (Ilex x ‘Mesdob’): Male hybrid, 3 to 5 feet high and wide; more cold-hardy than Blue Prince. Pollinator for China Girl® Holly.
China Girl® holly (Ilex x ‘Mesog’): female cultivar, 5 to 6 feet high and 4 to 6 feet wide. Use ‘China Boy’as male pollinator.
Note: Berry Magic® China Holly is China Boy® and China Girl® planted in the same container; only one container is needed to ensure pollination and fruit production.

China Boy Meets China Girl Holly Combo

Fred and Ginger. Lucy and Desi. Danny and Sandy. Ariel and Eric. William and Kate. Some couples just seem to go together, don’t they?

Well, we’re happy to offer you one of the all-time classic couples—China Boy Holly and China Girl Holly (Ilex x meserveae ‘Mesdob’ and ‘Mesog’). Our expert plantsman have grown the two together in a single container for optimal fruiting effect.

Having China Boy and China Girl in such close proximity all but guarantees pollination of the female blooms. You’ll enjoy a lush display of rich red holly berries through fall and well into winter.

After all, you’d hate to miss out on the beautiful red Holly fruit! It truly adds a whole new layer of elegance to this bushy evergreen shrub and brightens your seasonal landscape.

Super hardy in heat and cold, sun or partial shade, this easy care combo looks phenomenal all year long. With their rich, shiny green, distinctive foliage, you’ll find plenty of ways to use them in your landscape.

Now, Nature Hills also sells a Blue Prince/Blue Princess combination Holly, another member of the Meserve Hybrid Hollies. However, the China Girl and China Boy Hollies grow larger. They are better able to tolerate the high heat of Zone 9 while remaining very cold hardy to Zone 4.

There are some visual differences between the two, as well. China Boy and Girl varieties feature light green stems and bright green foliage that is shiny and slightly cupped. Each leaf margin turns a bit inward for added texture and interest in Holiday arrangements.

If you have the space, why not use both varieties of Holly combinations in your landscape? You could use smaller, darker Blue Prince/Blue Princess combo on either end of a long hedge of China Boy/Girl to “open and close” the look. Imagine how pretty a mixed arrangement of the high quality evergreen foliage and berries will be in your winter decor.

The more Hollies, the better, according to your local bluebirds. They consider the bright red Holly berries to be a feast. Birds also love the spiky green foliage, which provides a perfect shelter. You can really feel good about this wonderful choice.

Order your Holly combos today and get ready to “deck your halls”!

How to Use China Boy Meets China Girl Holly Combo in the Landscape

Hollies take to pruning as easily as a Boxwood. Keep these at whatever height you’d like, no fuss, no muss. The dark green leaves are big and glossy and the perfect backdrop for those classic red holly berries. Use branch cuttings for your holiday tables and vases and your guests will think you paid a florist to do your decorating!

No matter how you use these magnificent broadleaved evergreens, you’ll adore the tremendous show each fall and winter. Plant a specimen at the corner of your home to anchor your foundation planting. Showcase this lovely plant for all to see.

We recommend giving single specimens plenty of room to reach their mature height and mature width. Far better to enjoy their graceful upright rounded form as it grows naturally, than have to fight against it in a too-tight planting site. Don’t make extra work for yourself.

One thing you may not have thought of, but those traditional spiky Holly leaves make a great deterrent in the landscape. Try them as a formal looking “safety measure” to control the flow of traffic across your lawn or along the length of your property.

It’s usually far cheaper to install a “living fence” than a hardscaped one. Hollies will grow together without any problems.

To create a solid screen, plant 3 feet apart on center, measuring from the center of one to the center of the next. You could even use a staggered, zig-zagging row to fill in faster.

Trust us, no one will be tempted to tango with your China Holly combo planting. (You’ll want to wear gloves when you prune it, as well!)

If you have a wide open area fill, try these as a mass planting. They’ll be a remarkable feature in your Winter Garden. Use a zig zagging series of rows along the length of the space. Keep new plantings weeded and mulched until the plants grow together.

Why not use several plants in a long row to create a dramatically elegant screen? You’ll love the privacy!

Go ahead, replace those tired old overgrown evergreens with these colorful beauties. You’ll easily add “bling”, along with that all-important year round structure to your landscape.

#ProPlantTips for Care

While China Boy & China Girl are easy to grow in full sun or part shade exposure, full sun will produce the best berries.

These tough plants are quite adaptable to most soils. Ideally, they would have consistently moist, slightly acidic soils. But the most important thing is to give them a well-drained site.

Suspect poor drainage? Do you see puddles that remain for a long time after a rain? Use a raised bed or plant in a mounded heap of additional dirt added on top of poorly draining soil.

Provide a moderate amount of water on a regular basis. Cover the root system with a nice, thick layer of pine bark mulch, but pull it back a bit from the stems by several inches for air circulation.

In mid fall, start studying your plants to see where you’ll want to make your pruning cuts for Holiday Decorations. First, pick branches that cross each other, or are growing into the center of the plant.

Leave the rest for the plants to use to produce flowers next spring. After all, you won’t see berries unless you let some flowers grow!

Even tightly sheared hedge plants should be allowed to bloom first before trimming. We recommend using a light hand with the trimmers. Hollies are lovely plants that need only a minor tip pruning haircut to look tidy and neat.

The crisp foliage lends a strongly formal air all by itself. And the upright branch structure creates a strong outline all year long.

Don’t wait to order our top-grade field grown plants and you’ll get a marvelous 2-for-1 package delivered right to your door. Enjoy the expertly grown China Boy Meets China Girl Holly Combo this year!

China Twins Holly

Salt and pepper. Lemon and lime. Beauty and the Beast. Fred and Ginger. Oil and vinegar. Some things just work perfectly together. In fact, the best pairs make the other even better, don’t they?

That’s why we offer one of the best plant pairings you will find. A classic couple, in fact. The China Girl and China Boy Hollies (Ilex x meserveae ‘Mesdob’ and ‘Mesog’) snuggled up in one container. This winning couple is a great way to bring value and privacy to your yard.

This amazing evergreen shrub is a spectacular way to create a lush, dense, and beautiful showing of vibrant red holly berries. By coupling the China Girl and China Boy Holly, you’ll end up with berries that will last from autumn all the way into winter. This couple leads to such an abundant display of berries, you’ll wish all of your pollination pairs worked this flawlessly.

Not only does this pair produce berries like there’s no tomorrow, but they’re easy to grow and care for. They perform well extremely well in heat, and they’re cold hardy. And they take pruning like champions. You can prune them into a lovely boxwood or keep them rounded and full.

The rich glossy green of the China Twin Hollies makes their vibrant red berries pop! This foliage is not boring whatsoever. These leaves feature multiple points and a stiff, but smooth texture. Snip a few branches during the holidays for the perfect table display. They look stunning in vases.

These plants are true people pleasers. You may want to plant several as a hedgerow to take advantage of how wonderful they perform as a privacy hedge. They also do well as foundation plants. Some people choose to plant a few in front of their windows as a barrier to deter burglars.

This couple doesn’t just keep people happy – it also provides birds with berries and cheer from fall to winter. These delightful bushes make ideal shelters for chipper little birds.

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