Growing a Dwarf Burford Holly

By J.W. Carpenter , last updated January 15, 2012

The Dwarf Burford Holly (Ilex cornuta, 'Dwarf Burford') is an exceptionally popular ornamental evergreen shrub with shiny, deep green leaves that does best if grown in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 to 9. This Holly grows in a dense, round mound, up to six feet tall and six feet in diameter, though it can be limbed to produce a tree form. It is commonly planted as a hedge, as an accent plant in landscape beds, or as a foundation plant.

In spring, clusters of fragrant white flowers emerge across the shrub. Later in summer, numerous berry-like fruits develop, turning a striking red color by the fall that is quite showy. The berries endure on through the fall and into winter, if they are not earlier eaten by birds.

Planting Tips

Dwarf Burfords can be purchased in pots ready for planting. They are not typically grown from seed. This Holly prefers rich, slightly acidic, well-drained soils. Choose a planting site that receives full sun. Though the plant can tolerate mostly shade environments, lack of sun will cause it to flower less and, thus, to fruit less.


The Dwarf Burford Holly is a relatively low-maintenance plant. Unless you decide to shape it, it does not require any regular pruning at all. To reduce its size or otherwise cut it back severely, prune in late winter before new growth has begun. Never prune with hedge trimmers as leaf scaring will occur.

The plant is quite tolerant to drought once established in the ground. During the first growing season, however, keep to a regular watering schedule to help build a deep root system.

You can fertilize this plant after new growth has begun to emerge in spring. Use an organic plant food or a balanced shrub fertilizer. The Dwarf Burford Holly is not susceptible to serious insect or disease problems.

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The Dwarf Burford Holly is a dark evergreen shrub with a glossy look. The plant is very adaptable to new environments and can fit into nearly any healthy garden. ...
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