Santa's Delight HollyIlex aquifolium 'Sadezam'
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Ilex aquifolium 'Sadezam'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
Santa’s Delight™ Holly will delight everyone with its colorful foliage. The leaves are rich, dark green, with broad cream margins which turn pink in fall. The new growth is raspberry red, and this bush has profuse crops of large, bright red berries in fall and early winter. It grows into a pyramidal bush 10 to 12 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide at the base, and it can be trimmed to maintain a perfect form or allowed to grow naturally. Use it as a lawn specimen, as foundation planting, in beds, or in wooded areas beneath larger trees.
Grow Santa’s Delight™ Holly in light conditions from full sun through partial shade to full shade in all but the darkest corners. It is more cold-resistant than many other varieties of holly, and it grows well in a wide range of soils, as long as they are well-drained. It has some drought resistance once established and it is avoided by deer and not attacked by most pests or diseases. It has good resistance to root diseases. It can be trimmed annually in late winter and mid-summer, while preserving the berry crop.
It’s Christmas every day when you grow Santa’s Delight™ Holly in your garden. This colorful evergreen has beautiful green and white foliage, that sparkles. New growth is raspberry red and in fall the leaves develop red edges. When the bumper crop of bright red berries develops in fall, this bush really comes to life, and you can cut branches for the festive season, making beautiful wreaths, or filling vases with colorful branches for your home. This top variety of English holly is easy to grow and makes a great year-round evergreen, with multiple color changes throughout the seasons.
Santa’s Delight Holly forms an upright, pyramidal bush with branches right to the ground. It will reach 10 or 12 feet in height if untrimmed, with a width at the base of 6 to 8 feet, so it is perfect for a lawn specimen. The leaves are up to 4 inches long and 2½ inches wide, broadly oval, with rows of spines down both sides – the classic ‘holly leaf’ of Christmas. They are glossy and leathery, colored a deep, rich green. Around the edge of each leaf is a broad, slightly irregular band of creamy-white, giving the plant a bright look and a festive quality that also looks fabulous in wreaths. The new shoots grow out in spring a bright raspberry red, turning green and cream as they mature. In fall, with the cooler weather, the cream edges of the leaves turn pink, making a great showing and contrasting with the dark green leaf centers and the bright red berries.
In early summer inconspicuous pale green flowers are carried in the leaf-joints of branches from the previous years, and these are often not even noticed. They turn into small green berries, and by fall they have developed into large clusters, turning first orange and then bright red. Each berry is ¼ inch in diameter, and they nestle among the leaves, turning your already colorful bush into a winter wonder. The berries persist through the holidays, and then they are gradually taken by birds, providing valuable winter food for local populations. Cut branches last a long time, and they hold their leaves and berries well.
Use Santa’s Delight Holly as a beautiful specimen bush on a lawn area, or in the background of a shrub bed. Plant it singly or in groups in the corners of your yard, or at the edges of wooded areas, near deciduous trees. Plant a row along a boundary as an excellent screening, and this plant can also be used to create a unique hedge. Space plants between 4 and 6 feet apart for hedges and screens. It will also grow in large planter boxes for many years.
Santa’s Delight Holly grows in zones 6 to 9, and it was selected to be more resistant to cold than other hollies of the same type, so it is reliably winter hardy throughout zone 6, and possibly into sheltered locations in warmer parts of zone 5. It thrives in full sun, partial shade and full shade too. In warmer zones, more shade is tolerated, and it is often better for the growth and health of the plant. This versatile plant will grow well in most parts of the garden, and it is more shade tolerant than many other hollies. It grows well on the north side of buildings and walls. Moist, well-drained soil is best, and this plant needs both good drainage and soil that is not too dry. Established plants are moderately drought tolerant, but if dry periods last long, deep watering will be appreciated by your plant. Pests and diseases don’t usually cause problems, and this plant has resistance to root diseases, so it tolerates damper soils better than other many other holly bushes do.
Santa’s Delight Holly can add up to 2 feet of new growth in a single year. If you want to trim your bush into a neater shape or maintain it as a screen, it is best to trim lightly at least once a year, rather than cutting hard less often, as hard pruning will reduce berry production. Trim in spring, before new growth begins, and in warmer zones you can trim again in mid-summer, removing part of the new growth. This will stimulate new shoots, which need to be fully developed before winter to avoid injury. Trimming at other times can remove many young berries. Due to the potential for spread by seed into natural areas, we don’t recommend this tree for Washington State and Oregon – it is safe to grow in other parts of the country. For a full berry crop a male holly bush, preferably either English or American holly, should be planted within 30 or 40 feet of your bush. One male plant can fertilize several female trees. If there are hollies in your neighborhood you may already have suitable male plants available.
Santa’s Delight Holly is a special form of the English holly, Ilex aquifolium. This plant grows naturally throughout southern and western Europe, and in North Africa and parts of the Middle East. This tree has been popular in gardens for centuries, and its association with Christmas is well-known. Many named forms have been created over the years, and this variety was found at the Lake County Nursery in Perry, northern Ohio. It was selected from among a large group of plants for both its appearance and its cold resistance. It was named ‘Santezam’ and after trials, the plant was released by Monrovia Nurseries in 2009, with the trademark name of Santa’s Delight™. This holly is great at Christmas, and all the rest of the year too, and our limited supply of plants will soon be sold out. Order right away and have a Merry Christmas.