Newly Registered
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Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:37 am

Just bought Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata)

Hi all, new to the forum.

I bought a Japanese Holly on Saturday and am looking for a few words of advice.

I have read conflicting information about where it should be placed. I've read it benefits from being outside during the summer but also read that it likes indoor shaded areas. Are either of these correct or is it not that important?

I currently have it on a sideboard in my living room where it doesn't get any direct sunlight. Of course, I can move it if necessary.

I bought a humidity tray to go with it, which is now underneath the Bonsai pot.

The soil that the Bonsai was in when I bought it looks quite healthy and there is plenty of it. I will post pictures later, but if the soil looks rich and I keep it moist, should that be ok for a couple of years or should I just repot it straight away?

Many thanks.

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2661
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Re: Just bought Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata)

I keep holly and box in at least morning sun in Ohio. I've not checked your holly for its horticultural heartyness & highly recommend you do so. I'll be right back.

Ilex crenata is rated for zone 5-b. so your holly belongs out of doors 24-7-365 if you live oh say rochjester NY and south. Holly and Juniper can be killed with kindness.

Bonsai, any tree or shrub trained into a shallow pot (or) tray should have a very high percentage (say 50% or more) of coarse sand or granite grit as a majority of its soil. My daughter described bonsai soil as a bag of gravel with a few bark chips dragged through it. Her description is apt.

"Rich" and "finely textured" are oxymorons to describe bonsai soil. Water yes, loess or peat, no.

I did not quote your text, so I'll be right back (again)

I have not tried leaf-cutting on holly. Based on how it buds back I think I'd stick with using sharp concave cutter, over reducing the size of leaves by cutting them smaller.

Pruning a fairly stiff (both leaves and wood) tree like holly into very small sized bonsai is a maybe not. Shoot for +12" tall.

In ten or fifteen years you should have a nice specimen. Impatient growers might collect from free-cycle a more mature specimen.

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