Robin Holly

Ilex 'Conin'

Robin Holly

Ilex 'Conin'

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.


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


The Robin Holly is a vigorous and beautiful holly bush, reaching 15 to 20 feet tall in just 10 years. It has very glossy, deep-green leaves, with the classic ‘holly bush’ spines. Uniquely, the new foliage is deep maroon-red, creating a beautiful effect in spring, and following summer clipping. This tough plant is perfect for specimens, with a naturally elegant conical form, or for quickly creating beautiful and durable evergreen hedges. Plant it alone or in groups for the background to shrub beds in larger gardens, or on a lawn. With large red berries it is very showy in winter, and ideal for making wreathes and swags for the holiday season.

  • Vigorous, handsome holly for specimens or hedges
  • Grows 2 feet a year
  • Unique maroon-red new leaves
  • Very glossy, deep-green, attractive foliage
  • Good crops of large orange-red berries

A vigorous hybrid, the Robin Holly will grow in almost any soil, from very dry to moist, and from sand to clay. It thrives in full sun or partial shade, and it is normally free of pests and diseases. It grows 2 feet a year, so you won’t wait long to see the results, and it can easily be trimmed into more formal shapes, or to create dramatic hedges of rich red and green. Plant with the Blue Prince or Castle Wall Holly trees for maximum production of berries.

Plant Hardiness Zones 6-10
Mature Width 12-15
Mature Height 15-20
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
Zones 6-10

Holly bushes are amazingly useful in the garden, valuable as specimens, and for strong, dense hedges. Not only is the glossy foliage always attractive, but the abundant crops of red berries in winter are an essential feature of a traditional Christmas, and we simply cannot be without them. Most are green all year, but the Robin Holly is remarkable for the rich red color of the new leaves, adding a whole new dimension to spring, and after every trimming. This superb hybrid holly is vigorous, hardy and fast-growing, and in winter the berries are a joy.

Use the Robin Holly to build sturdy hedges over ten feet tall, or plant them in a row for a natural screen. Plant individual trees as lawn specimens, or at the back of shrub beds. Scatter trees along the edge of natural woods for an attractive effect. For hedges space 6 feet apart, and 8 feet apart for untrimmed screens. Use it for group planting, spacing 10 to 12 feet apart, to fill large areas in the background of bigger gardens.

Growing The Robin Holly

The Robin Holly is a hybrid holly, derived from the well-known and popular variety ‘Mary Nell’. It has a naturally-dense structure, forming a broad pyramid 15 to 20 feet tall, and 12 to 15 feet wide at the base, if allowed to grow naturally. In full sun this plant will have a dense, compact habit, but in shade some occasional trimming will help to produce the same effect. The ease of trimming and the dense structure make this an excellent holly for building strong and beautiful hedges. It grows fast, adding 12 to 24 inches a year once established, so it is easy to build good-sized sturdy hedges in just a few years, and 20 feet is often reached in 10 years. The foliage is a rich, deep green, with leaves 2½ to 4 inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide. The surface is exceptionally glossy, looking great in the garden, and also in vases or wreathes when cut. The mature leaves are deep green, and the new leaves are a bold, rich maroon-red color – a unique feature which makes this holly very special. There are three strong spines at the end of the leaf, and 5 to 7 pairs along the margin, giving the classic ‘holly leaf look’ so valuable in the holiday season.


In spring small, inconspicuous creamy yellow flowers appear in clusters among the leaves, and if the tree is pollinated these develop first into green berries, which are usually not noticed, and then in late fall they turn bright orange-red, and they remain on the bush in a bold display for months, well into winter. Birds will eventually take them, making this shrub a valuable contributor to the survival of your local wild bird populations. The large berries are almost ½ inch across, carried in clusters of 2 to 5, and they ripen in November in most areas.

Planting and Initial Care

The Robin Holly is remarkably tough and vigorous. It is hardy from zones 6 to 9, but in zone 6 it should be planted in a sheltered spot. It will grow well in full sun or partial shade, and in almost any soil, from moist to very dry, and from clay to sand. Vigorous and strong growth can be encouraged with evergreen fertilizer applied in early spring. Mulching in fall or spring with rich organic materials – compost or manures – will conserve moisture and keep your tree in the best of health. For hedges, trim in early spring before the new growth begins, and again in early fall, when the burst of new growth trimming causes will have time to mature before the onset of winter. The best berry production is seen on plants that are rarely or never trimmed. For berries you need to have a male holly tree growing within 300 feet of your bush. The Blue Prince Holly or the Castle Wall Holly are both suitable male trees, that can be grown nearby as specimens, or planted among the Robin Holly plants along a hedge or screen. Allow one male tree for every 5 to 7 female trees.

History and Origins of The Robin Holly

The Robin Holly is a complex hybrid plant, found in 1989 by Jack M. Magee from among a batch of seedling trees. These had been grown from seed collected from a plant of the holly, ‘Mary Nell’, at Mr. Magee’s nursery, Evergreen Nursery at Poplarville, Mississippi. The source of the pollen that created these seeds is not known, but ‘Mary Nell’ is a hybrid created from multiple crosses of different species of holly. It began as a cross between the heat-tolerant and very tough Chinese Holly, Ilex cornuta, and the Perny Holly, Ilex pernyi, which has neat, small leaves. One of the resulting seedlings was then crossed with the Lusterleaf Holly, Ilex latifolia, known for its large and attractive blue-green leaves. The Robin Holly has inherited all these good things, and added the unique red new growth, making it an outstanding choice for any garden. Our plants are grown from stem pieces derived from the original plant, which was patented in 1996 – a patent that has now expired. They are true to the original plant in every way. The demand for unique and beautiful hollies is always high, so if you want to grow this plant – and who wouldn’t? – then order now while our stocks last.

Back to top

Robin Holly

Ilex 'Conin'