Stokes Dwarf Holly: The shapeable shrub with one small snub.

Stokes Dwarf Holly was embraced by all but one ArtisTree judge on our Plantopinions panel, but only for the way people think it should be maintained as a small, tightly pruned shrub. Otherwise, our experts admired them for their dense foliage, tidy appearance and extreme hardiness. You’ll see Stokes Dwarf Holly sculpted into jumbo marshmallow shapes or long, undulating mounds reminiscent of tides rolling in. Whether you prefer a more manicured landscape or just want a few formal touches here and there, Stokes Dwarf Holly is literally a neat choice.

Stokes dwarf holly
Stokes Dwarf Holly keeps its rounded shape even when occasionally pruned.

Joe Mantkowski, ArtisTree VP Landscape Design:

Stokes Dwarf Holly is a great sustainable border plant. It’s typically seen in more of a formal, evergreen-type landscape but can also be used to accent tropical plantings as well. What my customers like best about them is their symmetrical growth habit and how they can be pruned into whatever shape that’s desired. They grow up to four feet but are most often kept at two to three. Performs best in full sun to part shade and can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions.

Clinton Lak, ArtisTree Landscape Designer:

Stokes Dwarf Holly shrubs are extremely hardy and can take virtually anything Mother Nature sends our way. Once established, they require very little care. That’s because their slow growth rate doesn’t demand frequent pruning. I’ve found them to be fantastic shrubs for our cooler micro climates where a “touch of class” is warranted. That said, I’d steer clear of using them if you’re planning a tropical-themed garden. Consider them for a traditional, English or even a Japanese garden design instead. You’ll find Stokes Dwarf Holly pairs well with coarse textured plants and flowering shrubs alike. This tough little shrub adds reliability and formality to virtually any property.

Stokes dwarf holly
These are planted closer together and allowed to join each other as an attractive hedge.

Chris Culp, ArtisTree Landscape Designer:

Stokes Dwarf Holly “Ilex vomitora” grows in plant zones 7-10 and is a cold-hardy Florida native. I’ll use it occasionally when I need an easy plant that has a low profile, has character and is deer resistant. It’s a cultivar of Yaupon Holly and is very versatile. You can shape it to grow as one shrub or join together with others. I’ve seen it used to create some pretty cool rolling plant configurations, all because of the tight leaf and branch structure. You can’t help but turn your head when you see it maintained that way. Very pleasing to the eye.

Brian Clouser, ArtisTree Landscape Designer:

I don’t like Stokes Dwarf Holly unless it’s part of a traditional southern (not tropical) landscape or a highly manicured formal garden. It also sets a bad precedent in maintenance because it looks great trimmed as a single shrub when it’s young. However, it will do better long term as a mass planting grown together in our area, like most of our plants. If given the option, I prefer to space these much closer together than standard landscape plants because of their slow growth. I think there are better options for a small shrub such as Emerald Blanket Carissa, Green Island Ficus, Dwarf Clusia, etc.

Stokes dwarf holly
These Dwarf Stokes Holly shrubs are tightly sheared at a community entrance.

Elisabeth Owen, ArtisTree Landscape Designer:

This is a more northern Florida plant that works well when cold is a consideration. Because they’re small leaved, they’re able to be sheared tightly and kept trimmed to accommodate walkways or traffic areas, lending to a more manicured, formal look. I call them Ilex ‘Schillings Dwarf’ Holly. They’re good in the landscape because they stay at a low height, are relatively slow growing and can be contrasted with colorful foliage or larger textured foliage easily. Great for entrances, formal settings etc., and no real issues with insect or disease. Just nothing too exciting about them. I don’t find many homeowners who like this plant, although it serves a purpose and is relatively hardy.

Conan Michel, ArtisTree Landscape Operations Manager:

I like Stokes Dwarf Holly (also known as Ilex Schillings Holly). It’s a hardy mounding evergreen shrub with small dense foliage, and serves as an excellent border or hedge if you want a more formal look. Or, you can choose not to prune it for a natural, softer appearance.  Because they’re slow growers, they’ll hold their shape longer. Plus, their naturally rounded shape will give off the impression you had them professionally trimmed. You can even train them to be bonsai trees. Their low profile also makes them a good choice if you want to add visual interest around your landscape boulders or along a walkway.

ArtisTree VP/Landscape Joe Mantkowski & landscape designers Clinton Lak, Chris Culp, Brian Clouser, Elisabeth Owen, plus Landscape Operations Manager Conan Michel.

ArtisTree “Plantopinions” is a roundtable debate between multiple ArtisTree experts on the virtues of various plant specimens. Sometimes there’s consensus and sometimes not. In the end, you are the judge.

Contact ArtisTree Landscape 941.488.8897

ArtisTree Landscape

To get your landscape renovation started now, browse ArtisTree’s portfolio and then call Jenni Lassen at 941.488.8897 to meet with one of our award-winning designers. We proudly serve Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties.

ArtisTree also provides complete landscape maintenance services for HOA communities throughout Southwest Florida. Contact Michael Casper at 941.488.8897 for your custom proposal.  

Category ,

Tagged with: , , , , , ,