Typical American and Chinese hollies are very challenging to grow in Colorado. They generally grow best in other climates with higher humidity and less drying winds. In addition, they perform best in acidic, humus-rich soil that is not common in Colorado.
However, there are a few true hollies that do grow well in Colorado, if planted in protected sites. Some named hybrid varieties are 'Blue Boy,' 'Blue Girl,' 'Blue Prince' and 'Blue Princess.' They have small, glossy, bluish-green leaves and red berries. They grow to four- to six-feet tall. One male to three female plants must be planted to yield berries.
A look-alike holly that is native to the Northwest is Oregon grape holly.Creeping grape holly, native to western North America, is a low growing form. They bear shiny, spiny, green leaves that turn rich burgundy in the fall and remain through the winter. Blue berries follow clusters of yellow flowers in the spring. These plants are better adapted to alkaline soils, thrive on less water and perform best in partial shade.
For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).
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Updated Tuesday, November 19, 2013