Ilex is a strange apparition in the flower business. It’s not a flower, not a foliage, but some kind of branch rich with berries. And now is its finest hour.

Strangely, Ilex has its season when the days get shorter and temperature drops. Despite the fact that this branch originates in temperate and subtropical regions of the world it really is a typical autumn and winter product. The small fruits of Ilex, although often referred to as berries, are technically drupes (i.e. fruits with a single pit, like mango, olives and coffee beans).

OZ Export  |  To Flower The World
The Cresco assortment: Ilex verticillata (Red) | Ilex verticillata ‘Cresgold’ | Ilex verticillata ‘Citronella’

Various growers offer an attractive assortment of species and colours. Cresco grow their own Ilex Cresgold, and also growers like Visser, Emiel de Jong, Broerse, Zevenhoven and Fritschy are amongst the quality suppliers of OZ Export.

OZ Export  |  To Flower The World
From left to right: Ilex Citronella at Cresco | Ilex Golden Verboom at Emiel de Jong


Ilex is a very slow growing outdoor product. It takes two years to grow a cutting-ready Ilex. Growers divide their fields into two parts, so each year one part can be cut while the other half still grows to be cut the next year. Where many flowers thrive in warm weather Ilex needs cold conditions to grow strong branches and hard berries. Especially in the last phase, right now, growers are anxiously following the weather forecasts to estimate how much their two year labour will pay off. Ilex grows out in the open as a bush with berries and leaves. The leaves need to be disposed of, so after cutting the branches are put in an indoor greenhouse where temperature is high enough to ‘scald’ the leaves off for up to one month. After that the branches are leafless and ready to be marketed.

OZ Export  |  To Flower The World
At grower Visser: Ilex grows not only berries, also leaves | At grower Zevenhoven: Scalding off the leaves under plastic(/em>

Ilex will only be available until Christmas. That is when growers offer their very last Ilex on the market. So get your Ilex at OZ Export the coming weeks and enjoy while you can. We will have them from 40 cms up to 120 cms. Ask your vendor at OZ Export for our best growers.

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