Blue Prince vs. Blue Princess Holly

boonus(z6 PA)May 11, 2006

Just purchased some Blue Prince holly for a hedge i'm trying to create vs. putting up a fence. After looking at some pictures on website I find that the Blue Prince is more of a pyramid shape and the Blue Princess is more of a shrub shape. They say that you can prune to shape, but what I want is a dense hedge about 4 feet tall and spread about 2 feet in each direction. Advice on which one to choose. I havn't planted the Blue Prince yet and should be able to return it and get the Blue Princess if that would be more suitable to what I'm looking for. Just hate to do all the work of planting and not get the end result I want.

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The purpose of the 'Prince' is to pollinate the 'Princess', if you don't care about getting berries then plant the one with the habit you like. Otherwise, plant both. The more 'Princess', the more berries. It doesn't take a large number of males to do the job.

Both are likely to get significantly taller and wider than dimensions you have given here.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 4:05PM
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Did you mean that you want a hedge made up with individual shrubs that grow 4 feet tall and also 4 feet wide (which would be 2 feet on each side)?

If that is the case then dig the planting holes every 4 feet along the hedge line.

If you want a hedge full of berries, then alternately plant one Blue Prince for every 4 or 5 Blue Princess Hollies planted along the hedge row.

As for the growing habit shape difference in these cultivars, that aspect will be a mute point once they begin to out grow (which they will) the dimensions you specified. As they get to the point where they need to be sheared to stay within your desired hedge dimentions, the shearing will continually alter their natural growth habit shapes.

I am assured of the accuracy of my last statement due to the fact that each of these holly cultivars have the potential height and width growth, which is between 2 to 3 times larger than your above listed specifications.

(If my first interpretation of the dimensions you originally typed in for your hedge is wrong and your hedge is actually only going to be 4 to 8 feet long, it is my opionion that these 'Blue' holly cultivars have way to big of growing potential for such a small hedge.

If that is the case, then Dwarf Burford hollies which grow from 4 to 6 feet tall would be a better choice in my opinion, for such a short hedge row. I say this especially since you have specified that you only want the hedge to grow to 4 feet high. If you do end up choosing that size of Dwarf holly, dig planting holes only 2 or 2.5 feet apart.)

By planting each holly only the specified distance above, it should help to limit their tendency to ultimately grow so much wider than really needed (especially the Blue cultivars.) That should help to keep your hedge more densely filled-in; with also keeping each individual holly looking less individual, which should help the entire line of the hedge to look more like one unit.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 5:18PM
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boonus(z6 PA)

My hedge is actually 19 feet long on one side and 10 feet long on the other side (L-shaped). I have 6 plants. So if I want them to be dense and grow 4ft high and two feet in diameter in each direction, I would plant them 4 feet apart, if i'm interpreting your response correctly.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 6:20PM
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In that case, I would start by planting a male in the corner of the L-shape and one male planted at the end of that 19 feet long leg of of your hedge. Then plant 3 females evenly spaced between those two males.

Then for the 10 feet long leg of the L-shaped hedge, Plant a male at the end of that 10 feet long leg and plant 2 females all evenly spaced to fill the remaining space.

That totals out to be 3 male holly shrubs and 5 female holly shrubs, which makes them planted closer than recommended. Evenso, to plant less would seem awkward.

It might work better if you would extend the shorter leg of the L shape to 12 feet long, but if not, than I do not see how going with fewer shrubs will look balanced while the shrubs are still fairly young.

Another option would be to plant a Dwarf holly which will grow 6 feet tall, and is at least 3 feet tall when you purchase them. They should also have the potential to spread at least 4 feet wide. This option most likely will be more expensive than the above, because you would need 12 shrubs. If you go that route plant 8 evenly spaced along the 19 feet long leg of the hedge and then add 4 addional ones evenly space to make up the 10 feet long leg of the L-shaped hedge.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 7:27PM
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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

Dwarf Burford is not a reliable holly for your region. You can grow them in a sheltered spot but expect everything from some winter leaf burn, to some dieback, even complete death in an exposed position.

Blue Prince/ess is a much more reliable choice for you. But a four-foot spacing will not give you a good hedge for many years. Especially on a short four foot hedge, you want a spacing of 18"-24". If cost is an issue, then take cuttings from a smaller number of plants to get about 15 plants. You will be aiming for a hedge about two feet thick, maybe a little more at the base and a little less at the top, and it will knit together nicely.

These hollies make a nice dense hedge, but the regular pruning means you don't get a lot of berries. Don't worry about the different shapes of Blue Prince and Blue Princess, you'll be shearing them into a hedge shape anyway.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 8:42AM
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boonus(z6 PA)

Thanks for the info. Since I already have 6 Blue Princes, I think I will purchase some Blue Princesses to go with them. I've had trouble finding the Blue Prince anyhow and if I want a thicker hedge and need more plants, then I'll go with the Blue Princess. I was also a little concerned that the Blue Prince was shaped somewhat like a tree vs. a shrub. I'm guessing because of the height and width I'm looking for it shouldn't be a problem though.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 12:20PM
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I live in Iowa and am contemplating a hedge along the back of my yard.

It would be about 90' long. The area is along the Western edge of my property and gets a lot of sun and a fair amount of water. The area drains well.
I would want a dense hedge that would be about 6' tall eventually.

If I went the blue holly route I would want 5 females for every male.
Would planting every 4' make a dense hedge?
Any other hedge type plants that would be better canditates for my requirements.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 10:24PM
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I planted a hedge of Blue Princess back in February. Planting them about four feet apart. They would appreciated some added peat to their soil as they are acid lovers. Fed with Holly tone and they are doing great. It has been very rainy this past "winter" (not very cold) and "spring" (not very mild) and seem to be pushing a lot of growth and flowering. I was told that I didn't even have to plant a Blue Prince as long as there was one within a 1/4 mile of me (I planted one Prince just to be here). I think they make a great hedge. I selected their site based on some shading they would get during midday hours (I understand Blue Hollies are not the most heat tolerate of hollies.) PS. I kind of stumbled on these plants by accident, my local HD was practically giving them away right after X-mas and I bought up their stock in December.) I'm not really into "formal" hedges (exception being the immediate front and side of the house), but I do like holly for formal, also "boxwood" is stunning as a formal (not sure of cold hardiness). I have yew on the western flank of the house. It was here when I bought and I can't afford to replace it now. It's low maintenance but so common here (i.e., boring), but it is another possibility for you. Hope this was helpful!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 5:58PM
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Hi -
I just bought some Blue Prince and Princesses and would like to know how close they need to be planted in order to get berries.


- Sandy
Shelburne, VT

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 2:53PM
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I've read that Prince can be as much as 100' away from Princess, but that seemed far to me. I have my boys about 25' away from the girls.

The first spring that I had my three new very large Princesses in part shade, I picked up small boys in 1 gal pots at the box store and placed them right next to the girls. They berried great. I potted the boys 1 size larger and stuck the pots in the ground in a better sunnier location. I planned to have portable boys again the next year. 2 of the 3 boys did well and it worked. THen I planted the two surviving boys.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 5:37PM
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My 2yr Blue Prince plants have 5 stems 2ft longer than the others. To eventually have a 5ft plant, how should I prune?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 11:48AM
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shortlid(Derry, NH)

Good question for the forum how do we prune these Holly BOYS!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 5:35PM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

Since you want a dense hedge, you should start pruning before the height you want is reached, so I would severely shorten back, by half or more, any long shoots. However, since you want to give any new growth subsequent to pruning time to harden off before winter, I might, depending on where you are located, and when your first hard freeze is usually (and on when your area stays frozen), wait to do my pruning until spring. You may get some winter die-back anyway, so better to do your shaping in the spring, when you can tell what is dead and what is growing. Next year, I would do any trimming of long shoots as I see them, keeping to your rough shape while allowing for growth. It may be "slower" to establish the shape roughly now, and keep it roughly trimmed, but it will grow up much more densely than if you let shoots grow to the height you want and then cut them.

I would do a lightish clipping several times a season, to establish and keep the shape you want. Just remember that hedges need to be narrower at their tops than at their bases - shaded branches are MUCH more apt to die out on you. The ultimate shape can be with a square top or with a rounded top, but the sides should slant down to the ground, growing wider as they go - it can be a very slight taper, but it MUST taper.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 6:35PM
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I have 2 Blue Princess hollies, they are approx. 20 years old, 12h X 6w. The past winter was hard on them & killed the top 1/3 to 1/2 of both trees. There is no new growth at all on the top half, but much new growth on the bottom half. I know you're not suppose to 'top' them, but what are my options? Will topping kill them? They flank my driveway & look hideous.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 6:03PM
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It is perfectly fine to remove any dead, broken, or diseased, branches. Then you can begin to shape the trees by only pruning off one fourth to one third of the healthy branches. Start by removing any crossing branches, and next remove those that do not conform to the intended shape. HTH.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 10:06PM
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