Compact Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata ‘Compacta’)

Compact Japanese Holly

Delightful Compacta Holly, also known as Compact Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata ‘Compacta’) is a popular broad-leaf evergreen ornamental shrub! With small, glossy, rounded leaves, it is one of the best substitutes for Boxwood in milder climates, in fact, the two are often mistaken for each other, and is sometimes commonly known as the Compact Boxleaf Holly as well.

The Compact Japanese Holly is well known for its low-maintenance nature, and that’s a good thing. It’s widely used as a foundation plant for that very reason. It looks crisp and clean. New growth emerges bright green in the spring. You’ll love the glossy, year-round dark-green foliage with delightful, slightly scalloped edges.

The Compact Japanese Holly is a female selection and must have a male nearby to produce the petite, black fruit in fall. Without the male plants, these female shrubs are fruitless and fantastic broadleaved evergreens just as they are! The fruit is inconspicuous and remains persistent into winter.

Planting and Application:

A lovely broadleaved evergreen shrub, typically planted around the foundations of homes. Compact Japanese Holly has an upright habit with an oval, well-branched, compact form. These shrubs create perfect round balls that can be pruned for size as needed. The naturally beautiful shape is amenable to pruning if you desire. It can even be formed into many particular shapes, so is popular as a topiary specimen.

Given room to grow and time to reach their mature height and spread, this low-maintenance Holly will reward you with a clean formal look. Used in hedges and foundation plantings, containers and as a persistently green backdrop in garden beds! Any grouping or row of these dense plants provides fall food and year-round shelter for local songbirds!

Plant several for a lovely, low hedge under the front windows, or use one as an elegant accent at the corner of your house. A pair flanking your entry will formally welcome guests. No matter how you use Compact Japanese Holly, it creates a magnificent foil for anything in its presence.

  • Glossy Green Foliage & Compact Growth
  • Considered Allergy Free
  • White Flowers in Spring & Small Black Berries in Fall
  • Ornamental Urban Tolerant Broadleaf Evergreen
  • Wonderful Hedge or Foundation Plant

Tips for Care:

Compact Japanese Holly has a slow growth rate of fewer than 6 inches a year. Maturing at 4-5 feet tall and 4-5 feet wide if not pruned. They can take some partial shade but will grow happily in full sun as well. Holly likes to be moist, but not wet. To establish the best root system, you’ll want to give your new Holly deep waterings, then let the soil nearly dry out around the base of the plant. Compact Japanese Holly also loves slightly acidic soil conditions. If your plants need a boost, give them an early spring slow-release fertilizer if needed.

A good layer of mulch helps to retain moisture and keep the roots cool in the warmer, drier, climates as well as insulate the roots in colder winter climates of USDA growing zones 6-9. Doing best with protection from winter winds, these Holly are able to truly shine when planted along walls or against your home.

Major pruning is best done in the late winter. Additional trimming may be applied year-round to maintain a clean manicured look. The plant can be pruned aggressively to be maintained at any height.

  • Full Sun to Part Shade
  • Moderate Moisture to Higher Moisture Levels
  • Almost Any Well-Drained Soil
  • Low Maintenance – Prune to Any Size or Shape
  • Resistant to Pests & Diseases

Compacta Holly is remarkably easy to grow and is sure to bring its rich-green color and bold characteristics to your landscape for years to come.

Compact Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata ‘Compacta’) Details

Common name Compact Japanese Holly
Botanical name Ilex crenata 'Compacta'
Plant type Broad-Leaved Evergreen
Hardiness zone 6-9
Growth rate Slow
Height 4 - 5 ft.
Width 4 - 5 ft.
Sunlight Full Sun, Partial Shade
Moisture Medium
Soil condition Well Drained
Pollinator-friendly Yes
Pruning time When Dormant
Flower color White