Soft Touch Japanese Holly

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Gorgeous yellow branching and glossy little fine-textured foliage, the Soft Touch Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata 'Soft Touch') is a broad-leaved evergreen shrub that offers year-round interest. This Japanese Holly is sure to please with its ornamental features and hardy nature!

Unlike many Holly varieties with stiff, pokey leaves, Soft Touch is named for its gentle foliage that is so flexible it veritably invites you to run your hand over its surface. The allure doesn't stop there as each glossy, dark green leaf features a delicate silver midvein that lends a touch of shimmer to this shrub's already vibrant appearance in your landscape.

You may not notice the petite blossoms in spring, but your pollinators will seek them out. Although Soft Touch is grown for its foliage, this female plant may produce some small black fruits if pollinated by a nearby male plant. Then later in the season, you and your local songbirds certainly won't miss the black berries that arrive in fall and persist into the winter months!

Soft Touch Japanese Holly is a dwarf broadleaf evergreen and has a dense rounded nature that is amenable to pruning if desired. Soft Touch is considered a low-maintenance shrub, so you can generally just plant it and forget about it. Hardy throughout USDA growing zones 5 to 9 and grows to a neat and tidy 2-3 feet in height and width.

Planting and Application:

Plant several as a low border along your sidewalk, or use just one as a lovely accent near your perennial bed or patio. The formal and naturally rounded form looks fantastic throughout low-maintenance landscapes, en masse, and in defining rows and groupings to accent any sun garden! The soft foliage is perfect for use along walkways and the driveway so you won't worry about poking or snagging garments.

Your wildlife will appreciate a Soft Touch in your yard for its food and shelter, but you'll love it for its year-round appeal, its evergreen nature and ornamental features a step apart from the average landscape Holly! Plant multiples to ensure pollination and berries.

  • Soft, Light Green Leaves & Silvery Margins
  • White Flowers & Black Berries on Female Shrubs
  • Dwarf, Fine Textured Broad-Leaved Evergreen
  • Fast-Growing Year-Round Interest
  • Definition, Borders & Edging, Pathways & Specimens

#ProPlantTips for Care:

Highly adaptable, Japanese Holly do best in full sun and these shrubs love slightly acidic moist soil, but it must be well drained. Plant it in well-drained soil for best results in any kind of slightly acidic location and give them 3-4 inches of arborist mulch over the root system retain moisture, and insulate the roots. Best in moderate moisture throughout the growing season and provide a good drink before winter. They'll survive through a moderate drought. Once established, they can even tolerate neglect. The best time for pruning is early spring and you can prune evergreen Holly into to most any shape or form.

  • Shines in Full Sun
  • Moderate Moisture Needs
  • Acidic Well-Drained Soil Types
  • Prune Very Early Spring
  • Cold Hardier Than Other Varieties

Holly plants are among the most popular choices for ornamental shrubs, and Soft Touch Japanese Holly is another stellar example of a variety with unique and useful features for the homeowner! Try just one this year and you're sure to return for more once you witness firsthand all that this lovely Holly has to offer. Order one today at!

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


Soft Touch Japanese Holly Is Suited to Grow in Zones 5-9
Growing Zones 5-9
More Information
Brand Nature Hills' Choice
Botanical Name Ilex crenata 'Soft Touch'
Type Broad-Leaved Evergreen
Mature Height 2 - 3 feet
Mature Spread 2 - 3 feet
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Soil Widely Adaptable
Moisture Widely Adaptable Well-Drained
Growth Rate Fast
Flower Color Silver Midline
Foliage Silver Midline
Foliage Color Bright Green
Fall Color Evergreen
Pollinator Friendly Yes
Pruning Time Early Spring