The dwarf holly (Ilex crenata), also known as the Japanese holly, is a slow-growing, compact shrub that usually reaches just 2 feet tall and 5 feet wide, but can grow up to 8 feet tall and wide. Dwarf hollies are rounded, broadleaf evergreen shrubs that grow best in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 8, withstanding minimum winter temperatures of -10 to -15 degrees Fahrenheit. Dwarf hollies have small, glossy green leaves with tiny white flowers blooming in spring or early summer, followed by blue berry-like fruits. Growing and caring for dwarf holly shrubs is easy.
Select a planting location for your dwarf holly shrubs that’s in full to partial sunlight. Ensure that the soil is well-draining and won’t become waterlogged or compacted.
Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch around your dwarf holly shrubs to help retain soil moisture and keep weeds at bay. Add mulch as needed each year in the spring.
Water your dwarf hollies deeply once or twice a week throughout the growing season to supplement rainfall. Water the shrubs to soak the soil around the root zone and don’t allow the soil to dry out completely.
Feed your dwarf holly shrubs once each year in early spring with a slow-release, complete fertilizer made for evergreen shrubs. Follow the application and dosage instructions on the label.
Prune your dwarf holly shrubs anytime of year, removing any dead or damaged growth. Thin out the branches once each year to allow adequate air circulation and light to penetrate throughout the shrub.