Also known as
This plant has a strong fragrance
More images of Cape Holly
Cape Holly Overview
The African holly has attractive bark and berries. It grows throughout the country and is one of the few indigenous evergreen trees that cope with frost, making it suitable for colder, frosty gardens too. Ilex mitis is a fairly fast-growing tree species, capable of growing 0.8 m a year, making it a good species for use as hedging. It transplants well but needs protection whilst young. Originating from southern Africa, Ilex mitis grows best in dry environments when planted alongside a running stream. To be sure of fruit, plant a small grove of these trees and remove extra males later.
Common problems with Cape Holly
Generally trouble free
How to harvest Cape Holly
Generally not harvested
How to propagate Cape Holly
Fresh seed grows easily. Seed collected from the tree or those fallen below the tree should be allowed to dry. Trees can be very tall, making collecting off the tree very difficult. They should then be sown into a tray containing a 1:1 mixture of river sand and compost. Seedling mix obtained from nursery centres is also suitable. Seed should be covered lightly with the soil mix and then kept damp. Although germination can be erratic, seeds usually begin to germinate 8-20 days after sowing. The seedlings need to be transplanted into a mix of sand and compost in bags at the two-leaf stage.
Special features of Cape Holly
Many bird species feed on the berries.
Attracts useful insects
Because of their fast growth they make good hedging and screening plants.
Occurs naturally along river and streams or in moist areas of Afro-montane forest.