The complete guide for hoogendorn japanese holly (ilex crenata ‘hoogendorn’) care

The Hoogendorn Japanese Holly, otherwise known as the Ilex Crenata ‘Hoogendorn’ or Yaupon, Yaupon Holly, Cassina, is a somewhat well known shrub plant native to the Southeast, and the Southwest of the United States.

Best known for its average maintenance and moderate growth, this shrub will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, this is exactly what we’ll cover in this Hoogendorn Japanese Holly Care Guide. So let’s dive in.

The fundamental caring guidelines for every Hoogendorn Japanese Holly can be summed up into the following:

  • Water: The Hoogendorn Japanese Holly needs evenly spread moist soil – try to avoid letting the soil dry out.
  • Light: Keep your Ilex Crenata ‘Hoogendorn’ in an environment where it can receive full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Hoogendorn Japanese Holly in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

And that’s practically it! If you keep these three factors in check, your Hoogendorn Japanese Holly will likely have all it needs for it to survive and even thrive.

Hoogendorn Japanese Holly care

Description and Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Hoogendorn Japanese Holly belongs to the Aquifoliaceae family, the genus Ilex and the species Vomitoria, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Ilex Crenata ‘Hoogendorn’.

Other popular Aquifoliaceae plants include species like Iberis Sempervirens ‘Little Gem’, Complete Guide for Winterberry, Box-leaved Holly ‘Brass Buckle’, Boxleaf Holly ‘Sky Pencil’, Ilex Verticillata ‘Winter Gold’, Purity Candytuft and Red Sprite Winterberry.

As with other Ilex’s, the Hoogendorn Japanese Holly is an evergreen plant, which means it will be present year round in your garden.

NameHoogendorn Japanese Holly
LightFull sun to partial shade
Temperature-20° F to 80° F
SoilWell draining properties

Growing Region

The Hoogendorn Japanese Holly is a plant native to the USA and to Mexico. This is why the Ilex Crenata ‘Hoogendorn’ is used to growing in specific regions such as the states in Southeast, and the Southwest of the United States.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend to always keep in mind your plants’ native region and environment, since these are the conditions that your Hoogendorn Japanese Holly is most accustomed to, thus where it can most favorably.

With this in mind, the Ilex Crenata ‘Hoogendorn’ will be most used to regions where the plant hardiness level falls between 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a and the ideal climate zone is between 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2.

Growth and Size

In terms of size and growth, the Hoogendorn Japanese Holly is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.

But, what size of Hoogendorn Japanese Holly are we talking about? What can you expect in terms of height, spread and spacing? Let’s dig in…

How big does a Hoogendorn Holly get?

The Ilex Crenata ‘Hoogendorn’ can grow up to 2-10 feet (0.6-3 meters) tall and 4′ (1.2 meters) wide.

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful compact, and rounded shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.


In terms of watering, the Hoogendorn Japanese Holly is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat irregular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Ilex Crenata ‘Hoogendorn’ needs evenly spread moist soil – try to avoid letting the soil dry out.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively low to average needs in terms of water. 

Hoogendorn Japanese Holly leaves


As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Hoogendorn Japanese Holly in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, moist, occasionally dry, and occasionally wet properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

In our experience, the famous ‘thumb’ or ‘finger’ test is what works best for the Hoogendorn Japanese Holly since with it, you will be able to give it the right amount of water, every time – regardless of the environment or placement where you do decide to keep it.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Hoogendorn Japanese Holly prefers to have soil with good drainage, moist, occasionally dry, and occasionally wet properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

This is why most experts agree that the Hoogendorn Japanese Holly requires soil with high organic matter, loam (silt), and sand, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Hoogendorn Japanese Holly requires full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this shrub will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Ilex Crenata ‘Hoogendorn’ in from full or deep shade (no direct sunlight or at most 2 hours per day), to little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to full and direct sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Prune a Hoogendorn Holly by using hand trimmers to cut away dead or diseased branches. Do not prune away newly forming buds, as they are necessary for the plant’s growth. It is suggested to prune in late winter before new growth begins.


Being an evergreen plant, the Hoogendorn Japanese Holly will be present year-round in your garden.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (early, mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), the fall, and during the winter.


You can expect your Hoogendorn Japanese Holly to flower around the spring months from April to June (spring).

The Hoogendorn Japanese Holly produces some beautiful white, or green and white flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Hoogendorn Japanese Holly have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement with a alternate organization in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Ilex Crenata ‘Hoogendorn’ to be around (1-3 inches) in size.

Hoogendorn Japanese Holly branchy

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Hoogendorn Japanese Holly is well known for being able to attract butterflies and birds, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for salt, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Ilex Crenata ‘Hoogendorn’ will be fine.


How should you then organize your garden to include your new Hoogendorn Japanese Holly? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Most Ilex Crenata ‘Hoogendorn’ owners agree that this shrub will look great in most asian/zen and contemporary gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of coastal garden styles. 

In particular, the Hoogendorn Japanese Holly’s best location within your garden is in hedges and screens, and in ponds and streams, others use it for landscaping in a mass planting, hedge, or a poolside.

Companion Plants

Hoogendorn Japanese Holly’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Cornus alternifolia, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’ will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!


So that’s it! These are the main plant care requirements that you need to keep in mind in order to have a healthy Hoogendorn Japanese Holly in your garden or home.

Related Questions

Can Japanese Holly be a hedge?

Japanese holly can undoubtedly be used as a hedge. First, you’ll find that it’s an evergreen, which means it will keep its leaves year-round. This is a significant positive if you’re looking for a plant to use as a hedge because it will always look nice and full. This species is also tolerant of shearing, meaning you can trim it into the shape you desire without worrying about damaging the plant. This makes it easy to maintain your hedges exactly how you want them.

Can you keep a Japanese Holly small?

Yes. Pruning will keep it small. If it becomes too large, you can rejuvenate it by cutting it back hard.

Japanese holly grows slowly and is tolerant of pruning, so regular trimming will keep it compact. If it becomes too large, you can rejuvenate it by cutting the plant back to within a couple of inches of the ground. New growth will emerge from the old wood, and within a year or two, the plant should be back to its original size.

How far apart should you plant Japanese Holly?

You should plant Japanese Holly (Ilex Crenata) 3 feet or 1 meter apart. This spacing will give the plants plenty of room to grow and will help them to form a dense hedge.

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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