Plant DetailShow Menu

Ilex cornuta 'Carissa'

Phonetic Spelling
EYE-leks kor-NOO-tuh
Description

'Carissa' is a cultivar that makes an excellent formal shrub growing up to 4 feet tall and 6 feet wide. This compact plant is drought and heat tolerant once established and has dense, rounded, evergreen leaves that look particularly attractive as a backdrop to colorful flowering plants. It thrives in the sun or partial shade and in slightly acidic well-drained soils. 'Carissa' is less cold hardy than 'Dwarf Burford', but is just as easily transplantable.  Its large leathery leaves with a single spine at the tip are glossy, provide coarse texture in the landscape, and remain attractive all year.  Its flowers are fairly insignificant though fragrant and this cultivar does not produce many of the traditional red fruits.  

Use it as a hedge, a screen, in a shrub border, or foundation planting. It can be pruned almost any time of year though pruning is rarely necessary as it maintains is rounded shape well and should be fertilized lightly each spring and fall.  

This shrub is particularly resistant to browsing by deer.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Translucent rim around the leaf margin.
  • Single spine at leaf apex.
  • Leaves are shiny and dark green above, but flat and olive green below.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: This plant has few pest problems.

More information on Ilex cornuta.

See this plant in the following landscapes:
Lush Foundation Planting Border Landscape Pinewild County Club, Moore County Mountain Ridge Top Garden - East Lawn and Lower Drive Border
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#fragrant flowers#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#green#shrub#easy to grow#nectar plant#salt tolerant#year-round interest#hedges#specialized bees#cpp#transplant#deer resistant#glossy leaves#foundation planting#rounded#border planting#shimmer#screening#pollinator plant#evergreen shrub#border middle#compact habit#bird friendly#bee friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#fragrant flowers#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#green#shrub#easy to grow#nectar plant#salt tolerant#year-round interest#hedges#specialized bees#cpp#transplant#deer resistant#glossy leaves#foundation planting#rounded#border planting#shimmer#screening#pollinator plant#evergreen shrub#border middle#compact habit#bird friendly#bee friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ilex
    Species:
    cornuta
    Family:
    Aquifoliaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Wildlife Value:
    Fruits are attractive to birds and bees. Members of the genus Ilex support the following specialized bee: Colletes banksi.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Resistant to damage by deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Mounding
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
    Appendage:
    Spines
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit is generally not observed, though if the round red fruits do appear they will be present in fall and winter.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Non-showy flowers
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Prickly
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Long-lasting
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, simple, leathery, ovate, coriaceous, glossy dark olive-green leaves that are 2-3 inches in length. Leaves have a long, single terminal at the spine (only apical). Leaves have a transparent rim around the leaf margin that reflects light and appears to shimmer. Some leaves appear to be bullate.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Current growth stem color is green.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    English Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Heat
    Problems:
    Spines/Thorns