Holly bushes have their own special place in the home garden and even in commercial landscape design. Hollies make excellent hedges and foundation plants; this is why you will often see them planted first when a new build is completed. They are extremely hardy and provide the added touch of color that properties which haven’t been fully landscaped yet need. As a potential buyer, you will take notice of the property that has minimal landscaping over one without. Shrubs, like the holly, are an excellent option to design your future garden around. They also have their place in established landscapes. They fill in barren spaces where other plants aren’t suitable and can help define your properties borders when used as a hedge, while also adding as much as a 20% increase in value to your home. Low maintenance, established gardens are a major selling point when it comes to real estate and are an excellent investment.
Heckenstar is a hybrid created by Hans Hackmann of Germany in 1998. He crossed the Ilex aquifolium “Pyramidalis” and Ilex x meserveae “Blue Prince”. The results produced a shrub that can grow upright to a height of eight feet with a narrow spread up to four feet. It is an extremely hardy variety that can withstand a variety of soil and weather conditions, while also being evergreen throughout the entire year. While many holly leaves are often described as being “prickly” the Heckenstar’s finely serrated leaves are not. Heckenstar produces medium sized dark green leaves with a shiny finish. Small but attractive white-green flowers appear in early April and last until the end of May. The flowers stand out against the darker contrast of the leaves which can also sometimes appear to be a dark blueish green instead of their usual green color. The shrub’s annual growth rate is much faster than that of its parent, the Blue Prince, ensuring that you will get a dense shrub that is well established much more quickly. Hollies are also evergreen, which guarantees you foliage color throughout the entire year – this is especially nice during the winter months when the world around us seems to lose most of its color!
Even though the Heckenstar is an extremely hardy plant it is best suited for locations in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 7. Places like Montana or Alaska are unsuitable. However, locations in states like Iowa, Illinois, Pennsylvania and further south to the northern parts of Georgia and Virginia, are ideal places for the Heckenstar. This variety of holly is also adaptable to many soil types and can be easily grown by even beginner horticulturists. The best soil conditions for the shrub are going to be average and slightly acidic types in a well-drained but moist state. Holly bushes are tolerant of lighter clay soils but if it is too heavy, and especially if it’s prone to holding on to water, the bush will not flourish. While the Heckenstar prefers locations that receive a majority of the daytime sun, it can also do well if it gets some shade. Colder locations will benefit better by planting the holly where it will get most of the warm sun, which will also help protect it from damage in the winter. Because it is capable of thriving in partly shaded locations this variety makes an excellent choice for creating a pleasing transition from your taller trees, which will often cast shade over it, down to your low growing ground plants.
Holly bushes are also very easy to care for. Aside from being easy to grow, they also tolerate a lot of pruning. This gives you a lot of flexibility, and will allow you to shape the shrub to fit into its chosen space in the exact manner that you need it to. You can cut them low and square them off to make a tidy hedge, or you can let them grow naturally for a wilder look. Even though Heckenstar is suitable for colder climates, if you are in zone 5 you will want to take special care to ensure that this shrub is placed in a sheltered position to protect it against severe winter winds and heavy snow. In hotter climates that may experience long periods of time without rainfall, you will need to adopt a watering schedule to ensure the ground around the roots does not dry out. Hollies are susceptible to several diseases but most can be controlled by simply removing the affected branches.