Ilex, Blue Holly, Meserve Holly, Meserve Hybrid Holly 'Blue Girl'

Ilex x meserveae

Family: Aquifoliaceae (a-kwee-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ilex (EYE-leks) (Info)
Species: x meserveae (MESS-erv-ay) (Info)
Cultivar: Blue Girl



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White


Bloom Time:

Mid Spring


Grown for foliage



Provides winter interest

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Evergreen Park, Illinois

Peoria, Illinois (2 reports)

Spring Grove, Illinois

Tuscola, Illinois

Yorkville, Illinois

Macy, Indiana

Des Moines, Iowa

Louisville, Kentucky

Bethesda, Maryland

Marlborough, Massachusetts

Rochester, Minnesota

Helena, Montana

Omaha, Nebraska

Litchfield, New Hampshire

Ithaca, New York

Johnson City, New York

Orient, Ohio

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Mount Hood Parkdale, Oregon

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 24, 2014, braun06 from Peoria Heights, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

I have repeatedly seen the China hollies rated as the hardier holly but this is not so. Locally the only holly that looks good planted in any location is a blue holly. Meanwhile I have mine planted in full exposure in the harshest winter in several decades with no mulch or winter burlap for their first winter. They have turned purple lightly as you would expect from such extreme cold but show no damage.


On Feb 25, 2011, weather1_guy from Rochester, MN wrote:

I have one blue holly plant that I've successfully over wintered on a 3rd story patio (roof over patio) facing north. It did amazing last summer and had lots of new growth and I'm sure it will take off yet again this spring :) I have it planted in a wood planter that is about 1ft wide by 2 ft long and 1 ft deep. I did little to protect it over the winter.. just brought it all the way up next to the patio door with the patio rug under it.. then folded the rug up around just the pot to insulate it from the extreme cold.


On Dec 4, 2009, pbyrley from Wake Forest, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

My Michael Dirr book says Ilex x meserve cultivars (the "Blues") are not suited for the heat of Zone 7B- zone 9. Dirr says that, in Athens, GA, China Girl and China Boy which are I, rugosa x I. cornuta did fine while the "blues" all died in the extreme heat of 1973.

I mention this because Lowes and HD happily sell the "Blues" in Zone 7B (Raleigh, NC). And also because the zone table in this listing above says they are tolerant to Zone 9B, BUT, this is for cold, not heat tolerance!


On Apr 29, 2007, katsu from Columbus, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

We have a couple of Blue Girl holly plants near our house foundation. It's very dry full shade there. They have grown very well for at least 8 years (came with the house). They have red berries in winter and tiny white flowers in spring. The leaves are very dark and shiny, and look great all year long.


On Apr 3, 2007, Alchris from Edmonton, AB (Zone 3a) wrote:

I have had Blue Girl and Blue Boy varieties in the ground for 4 years here in zone 3b. They have survived unprotected but have grown little and remain about 12" tall. They are planted in morning to midday sun. After heavy snow cover last winter they look better than normal this spring and I am hopeful that I will see growth this year.


On Apr 9, 2006, TBGDN from (Zone 5a) wrote:

A new garden addition here in 2006. Hardiness Zones: 5 to 7 Height: 8-12 ft Spread: 8-12 ft Form: rounded Type: broad-leaved evergreen shrub Annual Growth Rate: 12 to 18 inches Fruits: Red, yellow. The Blue Hollies are so named because the dark green foliage has a blue overcast. The bark on young twigs is purplish. Many male and female cultivars are available and both must be grown in order to obtain fruit production on the females. Although the plants are fairly hardy, foliage can still be injured during severe winters in northern areas. There are several 'blue' (meserveae) cultivars including Blue Boy, Blue Prince, Blue Princess, Ebony Magic, China Boy, China Girl, Blue Maid, and Little Rascal. (REF: Michigan State University Extension) I bought both Blue Girl and Blue Boy, and I'm hopin... read more


On Oct 30, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

This is a very nice small holly. Leaves stay blue green and have beautiful red berries in fall. I have 2 that are fertilized each summer by the Blue Stallion holly elsewhere in my yard. I have found that the holly bush that is in full sun here in zone 5 does extremely well next to a small tub garden that is near our back door. It has rounded nicely, is about 2'5" - 3' tall and very full looking. On the opposite side of the door I have another Blue Girl that was planted at the same time, same soil type (clay augmented with garden soil) but only receives partial sun due to the proximity of our picnic table. This holly is only perhaps 20" - 2' tall, and while still nicely rounded, is not as full as the other one. So I would advise planting these in full sun in the northern zones.
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