Blue Maid Holly

Ilex x meserveae 'Mesid'

Blue Maid Holly

Ilex x meserveae 'Mesid'

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How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


Blue Maid Holly is a vigorous evergreen bush that is hardy even in zone 4. These ‘blue’ hollies are much tougher than other hollies, and they are the premium choice for all colder zones. Of them all, this one is the most vigorous, with large leaves of a rich, glossy green color, without large spines. It flowers profusely even when young, and it produces heavy crops of bright-red berries just in time for the holiday season. It makes a beautiful dense hedge, or a striking specimen on a lawn, or at the back of a border. It will soon reach 8 to 10 feet tall and be 6 to 8 feet wide, and its dense foliage is the perfect natural screen. No trimming is needed for dense, balanced growth, but it can also be trimmed into a very neat and dense hedge. For cold areas, this holly has no equals.

  • Best holly for cold areas
  • Vigorous, dense, upright growth
  • Rich green glossy foliage
  • Heavy crops of bright-red berries
  • Quickly create wonderful dense hedges

Grow your Blue Maid Holly in a sunny spot for the densest growth and heaviest berry crops. In the coldest areas plant where it is protected from harsh winter winds. It will grow in all soil types except for the heaviest clays, and it needs well-drained soil. Keep younger plants well-watered, but established trees are tolerant of normal summer dryness. Mulch around the roots to conserve moisture and feed your plant. Grow a male tree nearby for the heaviest berry crops.

Plant Hardiness Zones 4-7
Mature Width 6-8
Mature Height 8-10
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
Zones 4-7

Everyone loves holly trees, with their richly-colored evergreen foliage and bright-red berries in winter – a classic Christmas feature. Sadly, holly trees don’t love everyone, especially those of us who live in colder areas, and many will not grow further north than zone 6 or 7. Luckily, there are hardier forms available, suitable for colder areas, and one of the very best, and toughest, is Blue Maid Holly. This tree is a hybrid form that is among the hardiest hollies available, and also one that produces a heavy crop of red berries.

Blue Maid Holly is a vigorous bush that soon reaches 8 to 10 feet tall, with a width of 6 to 8 feet. It has dense growth, and the leaves are large, with a lustrous, glossy surface. The foliage is always a healthy deep green, with a slight bluish tone, intensifying the depth of color. The underside of the leaves is lighter green. The leaves are almost oval, and the margin has several short teeth along it, but it does not have the sharp spines typically of most other holly bushes. This makes it ideal for planting along a pathway, or where you might brush against it, which is impossible with other hollies. In May many small white flowers open, and these develop into glossy, bright red berries by fall. They last well into winter, until they are eventually eaten by birds, providing valuable winter food for them.

Growing Blue Maid Holly Bushes

Blue Maid Holly has a naturally dense and bushy growth pattern, and needs no trimming to be neat, with an informal upright shape. It can also be clipped into a dense hedge or trimmed into more formal rounded or conical shapes. It makes an excellent screening plant on your property line, or to provide privacy, especially since it grows 6 to 12 inches a year, and so quickly develops into a tall and dense shrub. It can be planted towards the back of larger shrub beds, or along the margins of a wooded area. This valuable evergreen has a place in every garden, whatever style it might be.


The major difference between the Blue Maid Holly and other hollies is its winter hardiness. It is perfectly hardy throughout zone 5, and it is even hardy in all but the coldest parts of zone 4. With its vigorous growth, any winter damage is quickly replaced. This means that even if you live in cold states in the north-east or mid-west, you too can enjoy those beautiful red berries at Christmas, from your own garden.

Planting Your Blue Maid Holly

Plant the Blue Maid Holly in a sunny location. It will also grow in light shade, where the growth will be more open, and you may see fewer flowers and berries. Some afternoon shade is helpful in zone 7, to prevent sun scorch. This bush will grow well in almost any kind of soil except heavy clay, but do not plant in wet, soggy soil. Adding organic material at planting time, and as a mulch every year or two, will give you sturdy growth and good health. Spring feeding with an evergreen fertilizer is recommended, especially for plants you regularly trim, such as in a hedge. This plant has no significant pests or diseases.

Using the Blue Maid Holly as a Hedge

For hedges, space plants out evenly, 4 feet apart. Allow 3 feet in front and behind the line of your hedge for the plants to thicken as they grow. Trim lightly as new shoots emerge. For best berry crops on hedges, trim new growth in summer, leaving the developing berries on the older stems. This will allow time for flower beds to develop at the base of the new shoots. Holly bushes have separate plants for females, which produce berries, and males, which produce pollen to make the berries grow.

For the best berry crops, a male tree of the same type should be planted for every 4 or 5 female trees. The best choices for the Blue Maid Holly are the male hollies ‘Blue Prince’ and ‘Blue Stallion’. In a hedge, scatter male trees along the line, and keep them well-trimmed, as they usually grow more vigorously than female trees.

History and Origins of the Blue Maid Holly

Most holly trees are forms of the common Holly (Ilex aquifolium), a native tree of Europe, including Britain. When it was introduced into American gardens it found the harsh winters of the northern states impossible to live in, as the cold damaged and killed the foliage and branches. Gardeners looked for solutions and the answer came from Kathleen Kellogg Meserve. She was an enthusiastic amateur gardener who lived last century on a 10-acre garden in St James, Long Island.

Kathleen Kellogg Meserve collected many kinds of holly trees from around the world and found that one, the prostrate holly from Japan (Ilex rugosa), was extremely hardy and never suffered any damage in winter. She took pollen from it and used that to fertilize some flowers of the common holly. When she grew the resulting seeds, she found that the plants were now attractive like the common holly, but hardy like the prostrate holly – she had found the perfect holly for colder climates. One of the very best of all the seedlings she named ‘Mesid’, and she patented it in 1979. She then registered the name Blue Maid® for it, and the Blue Maid Holly was born.

Buying Blue Maid Holly Bushes at The Tree Center

Such a special plant as this must be grown only by rooting stem pieces derived from the original plant, so plants grown from seed will not be like the original Blue Maid Holly created by Mrs. Meserve. Cheaper plants simply called ‘hardy holly’ are of little value, as these will not be the remarkable Blue Maid Holly you need for your cold area. Our trees are derived from the original patented plant, and they are definitely this remarkable plant. There is always great demand for hardy hollies, and this – one of the best, yet rarely available – is selling fast. Order now or be disappointed.

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Blue Maid Holly

Ilex x meserveae 'Mesid'