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Carissa Holly

Ilex cornuta 'Carissa'
    8 reviews
Carissa Holly
Carissa Holly
Carissa Holly Plant
Carissa Holly Shrub
Carissa Holly
Carissa Holly
Carissa Holly Plant
Carissa Holly Shrub
Images shown are of mature plants.

Carissa Holly

Ilex cornuta 'Carissa'
    8 reviews

Small Evergreen Shrub Great for Borders and Low Hedges

  • Tidy, Compact Evergreen
  • Heat, Drought, Wind and Salt Tolerant
  • Disease and Deer Resistant
  • No Maintenance
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Learn More

The Carissa Holly is a small evergreen shrub that fits just about anywhere in the landscape. It's fairly slow growing so as a hedge it rarely requires pruning. The dense foliage allows this plant to be easily sculpted into shapes, curved borders, and hedges. The Carissa Holly is an excellent substitute for boxwoods.

Key Benefits

  • Compact shrub. This dwarf holly stay small, only reaching about 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide at maturity. 
  • No maintenance once established. The Carissa Holly is a hardy holly that stands up to disease, deer, heat, wind, drought, and salinity. This shrub only grows a few inches per year so you’ll only need to prune once yearly to keep a tidy hedge.
  • Year-Round interest. This evergreen shrub stays green all year round! It has delicate white flowers in spring.
  • Versatile in the landscape. This bush can be kept natural or pruned heavily depending on the effect you want. It is perfect for low growing hedges, borders, mass plantings, mixed beds, and containers. 
  • Adaptable to the environment. The Carissa Holly is adaptable to various soils and sunlight conditions and is even great for coastal areas.

Pro Tip: Shear uniform borders and hedges in late spring after new growth has emerged for an easy peasy yearly pruning program that will keep your landscape looking tidy and attractive.

Caring for Carissa Holly

Spring and fall are generally the best times to plant the Carissa Holly. But as long as you avoid extreme temperatures and the ground is diggable, you can plant your Holly almost any time of the year. Supplement with additional waterings when planting in summer.

Be sure to choose the appropriate location for your holly bush.

Hollies tolerate full sun to part sun. They prefer a slightly acidic soil, but tend to adapt just about any well draining soil. After planting, adding a layer of 1 to 2 inches of mulch will help keep the soil moist. Mulching is highly recommended in cooler zones to protect the plant's roots in winter as well. Water your holly deeply at the base a couple times a week for the first few months. After hollies are established, they only need watered during hot, dry spells. Fertilize in spring with a slow release fertilizer. Carissa Hollies don't require pruning, but they tolerate it well if you prefer to keep them a certain size. Heavy pruning is best reserved for late winter or early spring.

The best way to prevent disease and pests is by providing the appropriate care for your plants. Proper location choice, watering, and fertilization are the keys to your success. This holly is disease resistant and rarely encounters serious pest problems. Mites and scale can be treated with horticultural oil. For severe infections the pesticide Bonide is recommended. Leafminers can be controlled with spinosad. Avoid planting in wet soil and using overhead watering to prevent fungal issues.

Landscape ideas

The Carissa Holly is excellent for low hedges and borders. It also looks great in mass plantings and mixed beds. Try it in containers for a look you’ll love. This holly is an excellent substitute for boxwoods and can function in the landscape in the same ways. This holly is salt tolerant making it excellent for coastal areas.

Check out our selection of Holly Bushes and Evergreen Shrubs.

growing zone 6-9
This plant thrives in your zone This plant doesn't thrive in your zone (Shipping to a friend?
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Growing Zones 6-9
Shipping Restriction AZ
Soil Type Adaptable
Sunlight Full, Partial
Drought Tolerance Good
Mature Height 2-3 Feet
Mature Width 3-4 Feet
Growth Rate moderate

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