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Ilex Meserveae Blue Prince Cloud Tree (Niwaki)
This Ilex Meserveae Blue Prince is a rare and beautiful blue holly tree, expertly shaped into a gorgeous Japanese-style cloud tree form. This art is known as Niwaki in Japan – the ancient art of shaping a plant to alter its normal growth pattern by consistent pruning and training over the years.
This Ilex Meserveae Blue Prince Cloud Tree is what we call a ‘garden’ bonsai size. It is smaller than the usual size for cloud trees and therefore, less expensive. Still, standing over 2 metres high, it is a substantial mature tree and ready to the planted in the ground.
Ilex Meserveae Blue Prince as a variety is a perfect plant to use for creating Niwaki-style cloud trees because it is evergreen, dense growing and is very hardy and easy to maintain, requiring clipping twice a year maximum. The evergreen foliage and the cloud tree shape will bring great structure to the garden, also throughout the winter. Added interest comes from the rich red berries (also appearing in winter) and the rather lovely blue hue on the stems and foliage.
Niwaki or Japanese-sculpted trees are excellent plants for our western gardens, where they are becoming increasingly popular. They can be artfully positioned to create a wonderful accent. Niwaki trees are living sculptures and although they normally grow directly in the ground in Japan, these plants also grow easily in containers and can look quite stunning, particularly as a pair, on a terrace or standing guard at an entrance.
Ilex Meserveae Blue Prince is shade-tolerant.
Tip: If you are growing your Blue Prince Holly Cloud Tree in the ground, do remember that it is a holly (Ilex) and hollies like to have well-draining soil. If your garden has heavy clay soil (as is the case with a lot of London gardens), you can incorporate lots of organic compost with your soil and top dress your soil every year with a good organic mulch. This deepens your top soil gradually with the power of worms that drag the mulch into your subsoil, thereby enriching it.