Carissa Holly

Availability: Out of stock

Super Low Maintenance - Evergreen Carissa Holly

  • Shiny Evergreen Leaves
  • Great Plant to Add Texture and Structure
  • Incredibly Easy Care
  • Fragrant Spring Flower
  • Pretty Foliage
  • Versatile

The beautiful Carissa Holly (Ilex cornuta 'Carissa') is a real workhorse with a neat, tidy compact size and well-behaved character. You'll be forgiven if you simply don't think about it much once it's established in your landscape. Yes, it's that easy.

But let's give this plant a brief moment in the spotlight. After all, it's not often you find such a lovely plant that works quite so hard. And with its subtle interplay of color along large, glossy leaves, it really does deserve some praise.

Let Carissa Holly play an important role in your landscape by adding a ton of definitions to the landscape. With attractive oval leaves featuring a crisp midrib and a small terminal spine at the soft tip, this broad-leaved evergreen plant may be subtle, but its bold texture will make a statement.

One of the plant's best features is the tonal color variations of its large leaves as it grows. Incredibly glossy dark green foliage contrasts with deliciously pale green undersides. New growth has a hint of burgundy wine. And the edge of the leaf is pinstriped with a pale margin.

As with most Hollies, the Carissa holds the lustrous foliage year-round. Despite being a female Holly, Carissa rarely produces any fruit.

You'll grow to appreciate the super sturdiness of this small shrub. Landscape designers use this plant in commercial settings (for a good reason!) You'll probably wind up taking it for granted, as it does its job of providing structure in your garden design. And that's a good thing!

It doesn't give the significant berry show of other Hollies, but the spring blooms are attractive and fragrant, which adds to the value of the Carissa.

But as you decide on which plant to install, this "Ironsides" selection is well worth a serious look. This plant reminds us of a "no drama" friend who remembers your birthday and will always want to go to the Garden Show with you. These kinds of friends are worth their weight in gold!

Order your Carissa Holly today and get started on a long-term friendship with this durable shrub.

How to Use Carissa Holly in the Landscape

This is a very well-mannered plant that stays low and nicely rounded without much trimming. It looks like a soft, perfectly shaped green pincushion from a distance.

A true dwarf of the Holly species, you'll enjoy this plant as a border or mass planting as a tall ground cover to fill large areas. It's slow growing - just a few inches a year - so it won't get out of bounds for you.

The texture of the Carissa Holly also offers wonderful contrast as a low-growing foundation plant. Great for planting under low windows, or low porches. It's particularly beautiful when planted against the brickwork, where those contrasting leaves can really show their stuff.

Because Carissa Holly stays deep, glossy green all year, it makes a lush backdrop for flowering plants.

Use this as a border plant along a walkway or in close proximity to a doorway. You'll savor the fragrance of the tiny flowers in spring.

The Carissa Holly can take a heavy shearing to maintain a more formal look. Plant 3 to 4 feet apart to form a low hedge.

#ProPlantTips for Care

Once established, it doesn't need to be treated with kid gloves. Carissa Holly puts up with drought and wind without missing a beat. It's often used on commercial landscape jobs in mass planting in traffic islands and parking lot beds because of this 'tough-as-nails" reputation.

Garden newbie? This is your plant! Give it at least 4 hours of sun a day or let it thrive for you in full sun all day, every day. It can handle it.

Carissa Holly grows best in rich, well-drained, slightly acidic soil. The plant is very drought tolerant, requiring little if any, irrigation once established in the landscape. Fertilize once in the late winter with Dr. Earth Acid Lovers Organic and Natural Premium Fertilizer and again in the late spring to early summer, to maintain good leaf color and adequate growth.

Prune the hedge wider at the base to allow sunlight to reach the canopy all the way to the ground. Carissa grows in a neat rounded shape naturally. Prune in mid-spring only if you want to control its size.

No need for more than a light layer of mulch. It's got great disease resistance and hardiness built right in already.

During planting, pop the plant out of its container. Using a light touch, gently pull at the roots to loosen them up a bit. This will encourage them to grow outward.

For the first year, give it really deep watering to fully saturate the soil about every 2 weeks. Then, let it dry out completely. Once it's established in your yard, you will never have to worry about it.

If you want a plant that gives you peace of mind and is beautiful and easy to maintain as well, then Carissa Holly is for you. Nature Hills ships only the healthiest plants, so order yours today.

Buying Options for Plants

Nature Hills sells a large variety of plants with several options available. Plants are offered in both potted containers and as dormant bare root without soil. Here is a helpful resource to understand your options as you create a beautiful landscape with help from Nature Hills.

Ever wonder what a larger plant will mean for your landscape? Container Sizes are really all about the age of the plant!

Seasonally, Nature Hills offers hand selected, high quality bare root trees, shrubs and perennials. Bare root plants are sold by height from the top of the root system to the top of the plant. Plants may be taller than the height minimums.

  • Popular sizes of select trees are 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, etc.
  • Popular sizes of select bare root plants is 1 foot, 18 inches, etc.

Nature Hills Container Size by Volume

Keep in mind, specific varieties and different growing conditions can affect the rate at which plants grow. Variations in size may occur.

Young Plants to 18 Months
Size Volume
2"x2"x3" Ranges from .18 to .21 dry quarts / .198 to .23 dry liters in volume
4.5" Container Equal to .65 dry quart / .72 dry liter in volume
Sprinter Pot Equal to .63 dry quart / .69 dry liter in volume
4" Container Ranges from .31 to .87 / .35 to .96 dry liter in volume
6" Container Equal to 1.4 dry quarts / 1.59 dry liters in volume
1 Quart Equal to 1 dry quart / 1.1 dry liter in volume
5.5" Container Equal to 1.89 of a dry quart / 2.08 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x5" Ranges from .8 to 1.1 dry quarts / .88 to 1.2 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x6" Ranges from 1.0 to 1.3 dry quarts / 1.1 to 1.41 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x9" Ranges from 1.1 to 2.1 dry quarts / 1.2 to 2.3 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x10" Ranges from 1.7 to 2.3 dry quart / 1.87 to 2.53 dry liters in volume
Plants 18 Months - 2.5 Years Old
Size Volume
2 Quart Equal to 2 dry quarts / 2.2 dry liters in volume
#1 Container Ranges from 2.26 to 3.73 dry quarts / 2.49 to 4.11 dry liters in volume
5"x5"x12" Equal to 3.5 to 4.3 dry quarts / 3.85 to 4.74 dry liters in volume
Plants 2 - 4 Years Old
Size Volume
#2 Container Ranges from 1.19 to 1.76 dry gallons / 5.24 to 7.75 dry liters in volume
#3 Container Ranges from 2.32 to 2.76 dry gallons / 10.22 to 12.16 dry liters in volume
Plants 3 - 5 Years Old
Size Volume
#5 Container Ranges from 2.92 to 4.62 dry gallons / 12.86 to 20.35 dry liters in volume
#6 Container Ranges from 5.25 to 6.01 dry gallons / 23.12 to 26.42 dry liters in volume
#7 Container Ranges from 5.98 to 6.08 dry gallons / 26.34 to 26.78 dry liters in volume

About Plant Sentry™

Plant Sentry is designed to protect both consumers and the nursery trade from invasive plant pests and diseases. Sites that display the Plant Sentry protection badge are protected from consumers buying and nurseries shipping material carrying invasive pests and diseases.

This proprietary eCommerce software prevents the shipment of a restricted plant to each state. The Plant Sentry system includes a shipment certification program. The Plant Sentry Compliance Officer works closely with and each nursery or fulfillment center to ensure only compliant plants are sold to customers.

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Plant Sentry


To obtain a more accurate shipment time-frame, simply enter your zip code in the “Find Your Growing Zone” box to the right. Our plants are grown all over the country and lead time on items may be different because of this. Once your order is placed, you will also receive the specific shipment time-frame information as part of your order confirmation. Once an item ships, you will receive shipment notification and tracking numbers, so you can follow along while your plant travels to your doorstep. We use FedEx, UPS, or USPS at our discretion.

Due to winter weather we have put a hold on shipping to the areas shown below in grey. You can still order now and we will ship the plant to you during an appropriate time for your zone.

*If you have found your zone already, it will be highlighted in the table below.
Color Zone Times
3 Spring 2019
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Shipping Rates

At Nature Hills we handle, package and ship the products you order with the utmost care to ensure healthy delivery. Shipping and handling charges are calculated based on the tables below. Please note that some items include an additional handling surcharge, these will be noted on the item's product page.

From To S&H
0 - 19.99 24.99
20 - 49.99 29.99
50 - 69.99 34.99
70 - 99.99 39.99
100 - 129.99 44.99
130 - 149.99 48.99
150 - 150+ Approx 28%

Click here to see our full rates


Carissa Holly Is Suited to Grow in Zones 7-9
Growing Zones 7-9
More Information
Brand Nature Hills' Choice
Botanical Name Ilex cornuta 'Carissa'
Type Broad-Leaved Evergreen
Mature Height 3 - 4 feet
Mature Spread 4 - 6 feet
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Soil Well Drained
Moisture Moderate
Growth Rate Medium
Foliage Color Green
Fall Color Evergreen
Pollinator Friendly Yes
Pruning Time Late Winter
Photos courtesy of Spring Meadows -