The distinctive spiny, deep green leaves and bright red berries of holly plants need no introduction. Common holly is synonymous with the British countryside but there are also many garden varieties which differ from the basic type in both leaf and berry colour, ranging from orange to purple. As a general rule, hollies are slow growing, taking many years to reach tree-like proportions, and they are unfussy about soil type or situation. All are evergreen and will grow in shade, but the variegated forms need a sunny spot to bring out the best of their colourful foliage. Holly plants are perfect for adding colour and interest to your garden all year round, working well as specimen plants in a lawn, worked into mixed or shrub borders or to form an impenetrable, intruder-proof hedge. Nearly all hollies are either male or female, so plant a group together for berry production. If you want berries on a female plant, you will need to plant a male nearby. Don’t be fooled by some of the confusing cultivar names – Ilex ‘Golden Queen’ is in fact male, whilst Ilex ‘Golden King’ is actually female.