TX Organic Research Center





Ilex atenuata ‘Foster’  (EYE-lex ah-ten-you-AH-tah)

Aquifoliaceae (Holly Family)

Evergreen ornamental tree

HEIGHT:   20 to 25 feet

SPREAD:   8 to 10 feet

FINAL SPACING: 3 to 10 feet

NATURAL HABITAT AND PREFERRED SITE:   This hybrid holly is adapted to a fairly wide range of soils with the exception of solid white rock in poorly drained soils. It can grow in full sun to fairly heavy shade.

IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION:  Upright pyramid growing evergreen with small, spiny, dark-green leaves and many small, red berries in the winter.

FLOWERS AND FRUIT: Small white flowers in the spring followed by small showy red berries in the fall and winter.

BARK:     Smooth, light to medium gray.

FOLIAGE:  Small dark green leaves with mini spines that are fairly soft spines compared to the Chinese holly.

CULTURE:  Relatively easy to grow in any well-drained soil. Prefers slightly acid conditions but adapts well to alkaline clays especially when maintained under an organic program. Chlorosis sometimes shows up when grown in alkaline clay soils but can be corrected with Texas greensand and the other amendments of the organic program. Severe conditions can be corrected by using the Sick Tree Treatment.

PROBLEMS: Leafminers occasionally and chlorosis due to poor soil conditions including bad drainage.

PROPAGATION:  Foster holly can be grown from the seed collected in the winter before the birds get them, but the resulting tree will be a mystery because this is a hybrid tree. Stem cuttings are used to reproduce the same plant.

INSIGHT:  Excellent plant for dark evergreen color. Can be used as a screening hedge or specimen plant even in pots.

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