The Ilex X Attenuata ‘Fosteri’ (Foster’s Holly) Full Care Guide

The Foster’s Holly, otherwise known as the Ilex X Attenuata ‘Fosteri’ or Small Anise BananAppeal®, Small Anise Tree BananAppeal®, Illicium parviflorum ‘PIIIP-I’ PP28,887, is a rather well known shrub plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low 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, taking care of your Foster’s Holly is not too difficult – as long as you follow our guidelines in this Foster’s Holly Care Guide. Now let’s get started.

In order to take proper care of your Foster’s Holly you’ll need to keep in mind the following guidelines:

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

And as with many other plants, these are the only three care factors you need to remember to make sure your Foster’s Holly is, for the most part, healthy and well to survive.

Foster's Holly fruits

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Foster’s Holly belongs to the Schisandraceae family, the genus Illicium and the species Parviflorum, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Ilex X Attenuata ‘Fosteri’.

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

Growing Region

The Foster’s Holly is a plant native to the Florida and Dominican Republic.

You might be wondering why your Foster’s Holly’s native region is important. Well, if you know where your plant originally came from, you’ll know which environment conditions it prefers, and with it, knowledge on how to replicate it at home.

With this in mind, the Ilex X Attenuata ‘Fosteri’ will be most used to regions where the plant hardiness level falls between 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a and the ideal climate zone is between 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Growth and Size


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


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

The Ilex X Attenuata ‘Fosteri’ can grow up to 3′ – 4′ (90cm – 120cm) in 3′ – 4′ (90cm – 120cm) and 3′ – 4′ (90cm – 120cm) in 3′ – 4′ (90cm – 120cm). 

These dimensions make the Foster’s Holly a relatively medium shrub compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

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

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 36″ – 48″ (90cm – 120cm) free so the Foster’s Holly can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Foster’s 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 X Attenuata ‘Fosteri’ needs evenly spread moist soil – try to avoid letting the soil dry out.

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

Foster's Holly leaves


As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Foster’s Holly in soil with moisture retentive to moist but 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 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 Foster’s 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 Foster’s Holly prefers to have soil with occasionally wet properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of sand, loam, and clay.

This is why most experts agree that the Foster’s Holly requires soil with clay, and loam (silt), which will give you the right conditions it needs.

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

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Foster’s 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 sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Ilex X Attenuata ‘Fosteri’ in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to full and direct sun (more 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being an evergreen plant, the Foster’s 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 Foster’s Holly to flower around the summer months from July to September (summer).

The Foster’s Holly produces some beautiful white, or gold/yellow and green flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Foster’s 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 X Attenuata ‘Fosteri’ to be around (3-6 inches) in size.

Foster's Holly care

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Foster’s Holly is well known for its tolerance to wet soil and animals like deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Ilex X Attenuata ‘Fosteri’ will be fine.


Does your Foster’s Holly have any garden recommendations? Does it serve any gardening purposes? Here’s how you can get the most out of your new plant.

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage, city and courtyard, and in mediterranean garden styles. 

In particular, the Foster’s Holly’s best location within your garden is in small gardens, others use it for landscaping in a coastal exposure, or a privacy screen.


And we’ve come to an end. Fortunately, that’s everything you need to know about your Foster’s Holly to keep it safe and sound in your garden or home. Enjoy planting!

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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