Ilex x altaclerensis ‘LAWSONIANA’

Highclare holly is a hybrid between ilex aquifolium and ilex perado, probably from England. All varieties of this hybrid are quite unique and have almost spineless, large leaves and often vigorous growth.
Lawsoniana is my favourite. It is a female, variegated version of male plant Hendersonii which is just green. The leaves of Lawsoniana are deep green at the margins, grading through light green towards bright yellow centres. They are curled which gives the plant an extraordinary appearance. Being a female plant, if a male pollinator is nearby it bears scarlet red berries in autumn and winter. They are not edible and may cause discomfort if eaten.
It grows medium fast or fast into quite a nice and regular shape. Main leaders (vertical branches) are upright and lateral (horizontal) grow in a “V” shape. If you don’t like it growing so fast or want to have a dense plant when still young, you can shape it by pruning. In such case always shear it on all sides and, if possible, do not cut into old wood. It takes a considerable amount of time to repair its shape. Pruning in April will encourage new growths, trimming by end July is ideal for shaping.
Grow hollies in moist but well-drained, light, and fertile soil. They can take periods of drought once established. Hollies do best in full sun but can also grow in the shade. If you live in a region with cold winters and long-lasting frost we recommend growing it in position sheltered from drying winds, and preferably shaded from winter sun. Hardy to USDA zone 6.
Last update 17-01-2009

Ilex x altaclerensis ‘Lawsoniana’ (Holly ‘Lawsoniana’)

Botanical name

Ilex x altaclerensis ‘Lawsoniana’

Other names

Holly ‘Lawsoniana’


Ilex Ilex

Variety or Cultivar

‘Lawsoniana’ _ ‘Lawsoniana’ is a bushy, large evergreen shrub or small tree with broad, spineless leaves marked yellow and yellow-green; and small, dull white flowers in spring and summer followed by dull-red berries in autumn.




Open branches


Berries may cause discomfort if ingested.


RHS AGM (Award of Garden Merit)

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White in Spring

Green, Yellow-green, Yellow, Variegated in All seasons

How to care

Watch out for

Specific pests

Aphids , Leaf-mining sawflies , Scale insects

Specific diseases

Holly leaf blight

General care

Propagation methods

Seed, Semi-hardwood cuttings

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Where to grow

Ilex x altaclerensis ‘Lawsoniana’ (Holly ‘Lawsoniana’) will reach a height of 8m and a spread of 4m after 20-50 years.

Suggested uses

Architectural, Cottage/Informal, Hedging/Screens, Low Maintenance


Grow in moist, free-draining, humus-rich soil in full sun to partial shade.

Soil type

Chalky, Clay, Loamy, Sandy (will tolerate most soil types)

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained, Well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral


Full Sun


North, South, East, West


Exposed, Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

USDA zones

Zone 9, Zone 8, Zone 7

Defra’s Risk register #1

Plant name

Ilex x altaclerensis ‘Lawsoniana’ (Holly ‘Lawsoniana’)

Common pest name

Lance nematode; Nematode; Lance

Scientific pest name

Hoplolaimus spp.



Current status in UK


Likelihood to spread to UK (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

Impact (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

General biosecurity comments

Nematode species potentially affecting a wide variety of crops; prohibition of soil likely to mitigate risk substantially; keep under review in light of interceptions or findings should they occur in the EU.

Defra’s Risk register #2

Ilex x altaclerensis ‘Lawsoniana’ (Holly ‘Lawsoniana’)

pink wax scale; red was scale; ruby wax scale

Ceroplastes rubens



Based on its biology and low potential impact continued action on this pest in the UK would not be considered appropriate. It is likely to be of more concern to southern Member States of the EU; as it is an economic pest of citrus.

Defra’s Risk register #3

Ilex x altaclerensis ‘Lawsoniana’ (Holly ‘Lawsoniana’)

Stubby-root nematode

Trichodorus cedarus



Polyphagous nematode pest from Asia; occasionally intercepted by the UK. Causes direct feeding damage on plant roots and has the potential to vector viruses.

About this section

Our plants are under greater threat than ever before. There is increasing movement of plants and other material traded from an increasing variety of sources. This increases the chances of exotic pests arriving with imported goods and travellers, as well as by natural means. Shoot is working with Defra to help members to do their part in preventing the introduction and spread of invasive risks.

Traveling or importing plants? Please read “Don’t risk it” advice here

Suspected outbreak?

Date updated: 7th March 2019 For more information visit:

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