Japanese Holly ‘Convexa’
Japanese holly ‘Convexa’ is a very popular and common ilex crenata cultivar. Ilex crenata is a species of hedging plant which has been growing in popularity in recent years. Japanese holly is strikingly similar to box (buxus) and can be used as an alternative to this classic hedging plant, as box is susceptible to the destructive disease known as box blight. Also, Japanese holly is slightly hardier than box, which makes it suitable for hedges in colder parts of the UK. Japanese holly ‘Convexa’ has tiny, glossy green leaves, which are quite smooth.
It is an ideal evergreen hedging plant, but it also makes a great topiary specimen. This is one of the many reasons why this species is regarded as a perfect alternative to box. Japanese holly ‘Convexa’ has a compact, dense growth habit and will remain relatively low. This variety grows at a speed of 15-30cm a year, which is considerably faster than box, but slow enough to be trimmed to a formal hedge.
Japanese Holly ‘Convexa’ Planting and Maintenance
Unlike box, Japanese holly tolerates rigorous pruning of overgrown plants and will regenerate from old wood. Tiny white flowers appear in spring, followed by miniscule black fruits in autumn. This hedging shrub requires once-a-year clipping, but a minimum of two clippings is advisable, especially for topiary purposes or to make a neat hedge. This durable alternative to box will grow anywhere, preferring a position in full sun to partial shade and a moist, well-drained soil. Both waterlogging and drought must be avoided.
Uses of a Japanese Holly ‘Convexa’ Hedge
In addition to being ideal for both low border hedges and topiary, Japanese holly ‘Convexa’ is also very hardy. It can therefore also be used as a hedge plant in the northernmost regions of the UK. It is worth noting, however, that planting your Japanese holly ‘Convexa’ hedge in a windy position will likely damage the leaves and therefore, exposed locations are best avoided. Despite its slow growth rate, Japanese holly ‘Convexa’ can actually make a great privacy hedge if you give it the time to grow tall enough, as the plant is very densely branched and decorated with an abundance of leaves that will stay on the plant throughout the colder months. It is rarely planted for this purpose, however, as it will take several years before it reaches its ultimate height of approximately 2 metres.
Japanese Holly ‘Convexa’: a Versatile Evergreen
Japanese holly ‘Convexa’ is a plant that offers you a lot of options. It is primarily used as a replacement for box, as it has many of the same qualities combined with an immunity to box blight and a better resistance to frost. It makes excellent border hedges of limited height and, like the ‘Green Hedge’ variety, is often used as a topiary specimen, but these are hardly the only things you can do with a Japanese holly ‘Convexa’ hedge. Also, its tolerates a great number of soils, causing this gorgeous evergreen to thrive virtually anywhere.