Holly ‘Red Beauty’

A Compact, Disease Resistant Holly – 22 Years in the Making!

Dr. Elwin Orton of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey has spent over 40 years developing improved hollies and dogwood trees that are hardy in the winter and disease resistant. Back in 1982 – after being disappointed with three hollies that were planted on his property, Dr. Orton set out to develop a new compact growing holly that could withstand east coast conditions, be low-maintenance, have a nice pyramid shape and have dense, dark green foliage with bright red berries. This does not sound like an easy task – and it wasn’t! It took Dr. Orton 22 years of hybridizing and thorough testing to develop a holly that was everything he wanted. This week we are please to feature the holly that Dr. Orton developed – ‘Red Beauty.’

‘Red Beauty’ has quickly become a standout among other hollies and we are sure that it will remain so for years to come. Unlike other reliable and hardy blue hollies that require much pruning to maintain a good shape; ‘Red Beauty’ maintains a natural dense, pyramid shape with little maintenance. Dr. Orton said of the ‘Red Beauty’ – “It clearly stood out in the trial fields. After 10 years of evaluation, the original plant was only 7 feet tall by 4 feet wide at the base. It had never been pruned. It was very dense and self-compacting with a tight pyramidal habit. It’s a winner!” ‘Red Beauty’ has beautiful, glossy green evergreen foliage that will be covered in bright red berries in the autumn. The foliage has a finer texture than many other hollies available today. Simply put, ‘Red Beauty’ is the best holly we have seen in years – if you are in need of a privacy screen, a narrow hedge to define your yard or a background for your perennials – this is the perfect plant for you!

Planting and Care

‘Red Beauty’ is slower growing and will mature at eight feet tall to four and a half feet wide. To ensure the best display of fruit possible, plant near a male holly such as ‘Blue Prince.’

  • Plant spring or fall.
  • For fall planting in Zone 6 (especially in a windy site), place a double layered burlap screen around, but not over the holly for the first winter.
  • Plant in full sun to light shade.
  • Must have a well-drained site.
  • Does best with compost-enriched soil.
  • Water regularly until established.
  • Fertilize with Cottonseed Meal and Kelp Meal in early spring and late fall.
  • Hardy in Zones 6 – 9.
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