Ilex x meserveae 'Annys Dwarf' GENTLE

Ilex x meserveae 'Annys Dwarf'
Ilex x meserveae 'Annys Dwarf' GENTLE
blue holly, Meserve holly - male
SIZE/TYPE small shrub
 medium-sized shrub
USUAL WIDTH 0.5-0.6m
LEAVES evergreen broadleaf
COLOUR OF LEAVES +multicoloured:green and burgundy red
FLOWERS less showy but noticeable
LOCATION full to partial sun
SOIL TYPE acidic (peaty)
SOIL MOISTURE REQUIREMENTS evenly moist but well-drained
USDA zone (lowest) 5   (down to -29°C)
FOR ZONE 5+6 Code of winter protection zone 5+6
FOR ZONE 7 Code of winter protection zone 7
BELONGS TO CATEGORIES Evergreen broadleaf
náhled fotonáhled fotonáhled foto
GENTLE is a Dutch variety of blue holly discovered in his nursery by Andre Nijnatten from a horticultural town Zundert in 2006. He spotted a much smaller and compact growing holly among other blue hollies and named it Annys dwarf. Later, before it was introduced to market, the name was changed to GENTLE respecting its non-prickly foliage. Granted patents: 49645 (Europe – 2016) and PP30579 (USA – 2019).

GENTLE is a small blue holly with evergreen leaves. They are ovate, highly glossy, serrated at margins but non-prickly, deep green in the growing season and deep purple blue during the coldest months. As a male variety it bears no fruit but it blooms profusely from young age which makes it an ideal pollinator for many female hollies (not just blue hollies) that produce berries in autumn.

It forms compact, well-branched shrubs of a slender vase-shaped habit, reaching some 70-80 cm in height and a bit less in width. It does not require pruning to look good. Still, it can be pruned or trimmed in any way from late winter until midsummer. GENTLE serves a small specimen evergreen shrub in a border with other compact or dwarf shrubs, it complements a flowerbed with compact growing perennials, and it can also be used in an informal, short hedge along pathways. Thanks to its very dark colour in winter it looks exquisite combined with yellow-leaved or white-variegated plants which will stand out like beacons then while GENTLE enhances the colour contrast between its deep purple blue foliage and yellow or white leaves of the surrounding shrubs. And if you are into colour try leucothoe as a companion plant that will add rich ruby red hues all winter long.

Meserveae hollies are called “blue hollies” thanks to the shade of the species leaves that are dark green with bluish tint, especially in cold months. And the name meserveae was chosen for its cultivator, Kathleen Meserve, who, literally on her windowsill, made a cross of ilex rugosa and ilex aquifolium in 1950's in an effort to achieve excellent cold hardiness on a fabulously foliaged evergreen plant. She died in 1999 at the age of 93 but left behind an impressive line of these evergreen, superbly hardy varieties.

Blue holly needs almost no maintenance if you provide them with acid, fertile soil at the beginning, and enough moisture for the first couple of years before its extensive root system is established. Avoid heavy clay sites. Pruning is not needed as it forms a compact shrub on its own, but you can shape it in early spring or in midsummer. Sunny or part shaded location is best, however, it will grow in full shade, too, where it may lose its compact habit. Blue hollies are also renowned for their hardiness: this one has not yet been tested under all conditions but is expected to survive at least -29 °C (USDA zone 5), possibly yet a few degrees lower. It is suitable for large outdoor pots – hollies don’t like congested space.

Last update 01-12-2022.

Ilex x meserveae
Ilex x meserveae
Ilex aquifolium
  • STANDARD QUALITY - Plants of this group are 1st class quality with number of branches and overall density adequate to their size and age, considering they were container grown.
  • DE LUXE QUALITY - This label guarantees a luxurious quality of manually selected plants that, compared to their height and age, are exceptionally dense and beautiful.
  • EXTRA - These plants are usually mature and bigger specimens with exceptional overall appearance.
  • STANDARD (as described in the plant form) means a tree with a trunk of 190-210 cm and a crown at the top, unless specified differently. The commercial size for trees is their girth measured in the height of 1m from ground.
  • HOBBY - These plants are of the same quality as our standard-quality plants but younger and therefore cheaper.
  • SHRUB - a woody plant with branches growing bushy from the ground level.
  • HALF-STANDARD or MINI-STANDARD - a small tree with shorter trunk, its size is usually specified.
  • FEATHERED - These are trees with branches growing already from the base of the trunk and up along the stem.
  • GRASSES and PERENNIALS - Sizes given usually read the diameter of the pot or the clump, as specified.
LARGE PLANTS over 150 cmspecimens, screening and hedging shrubs

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