Bonsai Training Information

Ilex crenata
Japanese Holly

Japanese holly, box-leafed holly - an evergreen shrub that gets its name from its leaves, which cause it to be sometimes mistaken for box. It has small dense green shiny leaves and produces small black shiny fruits. It is very Popular as a Bonsai Species in Japan and is quite frost hard in the most of England and Wales.


Formal upright, Informal Upright, Slanting, Cascade, Semi-cascade, Literate, Rock-over-root, Clasped-to-rock, Twin-trunk, Clump, Group planting, Saikei




Can tolerate both sun and shade, although semi-shade is preferable in midsummer. Increased light tends to produce dense foliage. Indoors it prefers a cool rather than a warm location over the winter months.


Needs a fair amount of water, especially before fruit production. Holly can be badly damaged by draught. Reduce watering in winter. When grown indoors it likes regular misting.


Every two weeks during growing season use a low availibily fertiliser, 4:4:4 or there about, or a slow release organic fertiliser.

Leaf and Branch Pruning:

Prune regularly from early spring to early summer. Avoid pruning later if you want flowers and fruit. Prune back shoots to 2 nodes once they have grown 5/6 nodes on the stem.

Re-potting & Growing Medium:

Repot every second year in early spring. Use well well drained orgainc based bonsai mix 1 part Leaf Mold or Bark and 1 Part Loam and 1 part Sharp Sand or Volcanic Grit. (1 Part Leaf Mold, 1 Part Akadama, 1 Part Fuji Grit)


Cut back new shoots to one or two nodes closest to the trunk. Branches can be very brittle, so shaping is best done by pruning rather than wiring. If wiring must be done, it is best to wire in late spring through summer, taking care to protect the bark.


Female plant produce fruit if there is a male plant in the vicnity. The plant may be weakened by too much much fruit production, so it is best to limit the amount of fruit on the tree.

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