Ilex × altaclerensis 'Golden King'

2 litre pot £29.99
in stock (shipped within 3-5 working days)
Quantity 1 Plus Minus
Buy Ilex × altaclerensis 'Golden King' holly (female): A lovely, golden-leaved holly

  • Position: full sun or partial shade
  • Soil: moist, well-drained, moderately fertile, humus-rich soil
  • Rate of growth: fast-growing
  • Flowering period: May to June
  • Hardiness: fully hardy

    The glossy leaves of this holly have grey-green mottled centres and bright, golden-yellow margins. Despite its name, this compact, conical, evergreen shrub is a 'female' variety of holly which produces reddish-brown autumn berries that ripen to red. One of the best golden variegated hollies, it's a lovely specimen plant for a big, sunny shrub or mixed border.

  • Garden care: To guarantee berries, it's necessary to plant a male holly nearby. Plants grown as free-standing specimens require minimal pruning - remove diseased or misplaced branches in spring. Trim plants grown as formal hedges in late summer. After pruning apply a generous 5-7cm (2-3in) mulch of well-rotted compost or manure around the base of the plant.

  • Humans/Pets: Fruit are ornamental - not to be eaten

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A lovely plant arrived!


This small,at the moment, tree is growing well near the bird table in our garden. It has happily been trimmed to fit into its home and is doing well. A few berries have appeared this year and I have no doubt that lots more will arrive next. I hope that the birds will find it next year and it will become a very very pretty sight for us and place for them.

Miss garden

The Rorest of Dean Glos


A highlight for a dark corner


See above

Gardener di



Beautiful berries


I planted these in tubs on my mother's very exposed and windy patio and they have survived and produced beautiful berries.





5.0 3


Hello Crocus, I have bought a male partner for my Golden King girl. You say they need to be planted nearby. What is the maximum distance? Do they literally need to stand next to each other to pollinate, or within the same garden is ok? Many thanks!


Hello, There are no hard and fast rules about distances - they just need to be close enough for the bees to move from one to another.


Hello, I have a 3 meter wide front garden wall that I would like to grow a variegated holly hedge behind. I particularly like the golden King variety as it seems to have less prickles and a lovely colour contrast. How many of the 2ltr size plants will I need? My wall is 80cm high, how long do you think it would take for these to grow enough to protrude over the wall? Also I understand that I will need a male plant nearby to get berries, can I plant him in a freestanding pot close by? Is there a variety that you sell and would recommend for this? Thank you


Hello, When planting a hedge, you should always plant much more densely than you would normally. Therefore I would recommend planting these at approximately 45cm intervals, which means you will need a total of 6 or 7 plants. As for their growth rates, they are relatively fast, but ultimately this is determined by external things such as the available water, light and nutrients. You will need a male holly nearby (in a large pot would be fine), however we do not currently stock a male variety.


Hi, I bought one of these holly tree's last week in your Castlebar store. I have now read about it on your website and my question is will I get berries for Christmas or do I need to buy a male to plant with it. Also, it is in a small pot so can I transplant to a larger pot for a year so it can get stronger before I finally plant in the ground as I do not have a lot of shelter where I live. Thank you, Sharon

Sligo Girl

Hello there This holly is female so yes you will need a male holly nearby to have berries. Ilex × meserveae 'Casanova' is a male plant although we don't have stock at the moment. Ilex × altaclerensis 'Golden King' comes in 2lt pot which should be fine for planting out now as long as the ground isn't frozen or freezing outside. Hope this helps.

Hedging ideas Hello and hope you can help,- I'm a novice and a hopeless gardener hoping to learn quickly. Do you have any suggestions for mixed hedging for an approx 60 feet boundary? No preference or favourites, though a bit of colour would be appreciated at some time in the seasons but it needs to grow to at least five feet preferably six feet high and act as a barrier to human. I would like it to attract wildlife, particularly the birds and provide some year round interest with colour (hopefully). Lawrence

lawrence dixon

Hello Lawrence, There are several plants that I would put on the shortlist. Here are my favourites:- Rosa rugosa Alba Rosa rugosa Rubra Elaeagnus x ebbingei Limelight Ilex x altaclerensis Golden King Ribes sanguineum Pulborough Scarlet Pyracantha I hope this helps. Helen Plant Doctor

Crocus Helpdesk

Holly Trees varieties? Dear Crocus Hope you all had a good Christmas, -after reading an article in the newspaper recently regarding holly trees we have decided to buy a couple, - it recommended a Ilex 'Golden King' and 'Silver Princess'. Is there something you supply that is similar with a combination of tree that would produce berries on the male plant? We do have a holly "bush" which has no berries so we would like to add some colour to the garden at this time of the year. We would rather buy our plants/trees etc from you as those we bought this year have been excellent. Best Wishes Gill

Gillian Brady

Hello Gill, We do sell the 'Golden King', and a self-fertile variety called 'J C van Tol' - just click on the following link to go straight to them:- It is only the female hollies that produce the berries, but the Golden King will need a male pollinating partner nearby to produce a good crop. If your existing holly has never produced any berries, then I suspect it may be a male, which would do the trick. All of them can be trained to form either a small tree or large shrub. I hope this helps. Helen Plant Doctor

Crocus Helpdesk

Hedging and Osmanthus plants Dear Crocus, I am looking for two Osmanthus burkwoodii plants but notice on your website that you only offer them for sale in 2 litre size. Do you have any larger Osmanthus burkwoodii plants? I am also looking for suggestions on which plants would make a good hedge. I am looking for something hardy, able to stand the frost, evergreen, not poisonous to horses and if possible, not just green possibly red / purple or variegated, any thoughts? Also, as these plants are grown in Surrey, will they be suitable to grow in the Scottish Borders? Many thanks, Jane

Janey Mitch

Hello Jane, I'm afraid we have all the plants we sell displayed on our website so we do not sell larger sizes of the Osmanthus. As for the hedging, if you click on the link below it will take you to our full range of hedging plants. Unfortunately we do not have anything that meets all your criteria, but if you click on the smaller images it will give you a lot more information on hardiness levels (fully hardy means they can cope with the weather in Scotland) as well as leaf colour etc. Unfortunately though I do not have a list of plants which are not poisonous to horses, but your local vet may be able to help you with this. Best regards, Helen Plant Doctor

Crocus Helpdesk

Plants to deter cats Hello, my tiny terrace garden was recently made over at some expense but my 2 beloved moggies have ruined the one flower bed by using it as a loo-I am about to spend yet more money on having it cleaned up but how do I deter the cats from ruining it again? They are outdoor cats and use the catflap and there is nowhere indoors to put a litter tray anyway. Friends suggested several centimetres of woodchips? on the soil would put them off but I would value your advice before I invest. Also, which perfumed lilies are poisonous to cats?-or are they all? I am not thinking of poisoning the 2 moggies but I would like some lilies in pots but not if they are going to harm the cats. Also, suggestions of perfumed climbing shrubs that will stand shade. Many thanks Sonia

Sonia Richardson

Hello There, There are a couple of ways you can deter cats from the garden. Firstly you can plant lots of things that have spines or thorns, thus making it awkward for them to dig in - here are some of my favourites. Pyracantha's are ideal - this is a prickly wall shrub that has small white flowers which become fabulous red berries in autumn. Berberis is another good choice: Chaenomeles: Ilex (holly): All of the above plants are evergreen (except Chaenomeles), so you will have year round interest. There are loads of cat deterrents on the market that work by scent or water. We have a few on our site. Other methods that you could try include sprinkling curry powder around the boundaries where they frequent, drying your used tea bags and then putting a few drops of eucalyptus oil on them before scattering in the garden. Orange peel when broken into small pieces and scattered around the borders works wonders and it's cheap as does grated, perfumed soap. As for the lilies, I think they are all quite toxic to cats, so they should be avoided. Finally, the best scented climbers for shade are the Loniceras - just click on the following link to go straight to them I hope this helps and good luck! Helen Plant Doctor

Crocus Helpdesk

Difficult corner... Hi We have a problem area in our front garden. It is a triangular bed with two sides bounded by low walls, which form part of the boundaries to our property. The soil is more alkaline than acid, and has been described as silt, with quite a lot of flinty pebbles. Most of the front garden is lawn, with one rectangular bed below our kitchen window. Unfortunately for us the whole corner area is overshadowed from the south by our next door neighbour's tree. This is a walnut, which during the summer months cuts off most of the sunlight from the bed and which also throws a rain shadow over it. The tree is protected by a preservation order but it has had the crown lifted and thinned. It is now filling in downwards with flowers, leaves, nuts etc all falling into the triangular bed at regular intervals. It seems to dislike any neighbouring trees - we lost a rather lovely white-flowering prunus from our front lawn two years ago, the crown of which grew just high enough to touch a branch of the walnut. I have read that walnuts exude a toxic substance, to keep rivals at bay! We have one Camellia japonica (about 2.5 metres high) and one Fuchsia magellanica which apparently are reasonably happy in their situation ina corner. We planted a small Pittosporum tenuifolium (which is surviving but not at all happy) and two Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. repens, both of which have died. We also planted six Vinca minor, three of which failed to survive. (The survivors have been moved to another bed). Are there any evergreen shrubs or perennials that might survive in this bed? We do want something that will at least partially block the view of a small block of flats on the opposite side of the road, but are finding it difficult to work out a solution to our present problem. So could you please suggest something that we could successfully plant, other than laurels or aucuba, both of which my wife dislikes. Kind regards Michael

Hello There, This is a very difficult situation for plants as there will be very little moisture and nutrients in the soil. The best plants will be the toughest, however even these will need to be kept really well fed and watered if they are to survive. Here are your best options Viburnum tinus Sarcococca Ilex Mahonia Euonymus fortunei varieties Alchemilla mollis Pachysandra terminalis Bergenias Iris foetidissima Lamiums Liriope muscari Cotoneaster dammeri I hope this gives you a few ideas. Helen Plant Doctor

Crocus Helpdesk

Which plants are Deer proof? I want a list of Deer proof plants please. It`s either a change in habitat or environment, but I get total devastation now and in the last two years they come up the drive.


Deer can be a real problem and deer proof plants are usually thorny, poisonous or simply taste awful, but it is hard to give a definitive list as you might get the odd deer with unusual tastes which might like the bitter taste! Below is a list of good plants that generally are quite successful though. Cornus varieties, Rhus, Sophora, Solanum, Berberis, Rosemary, Buxus, Cotoneaster, Ilex, Pyracantha, Garrya, Juniperus, Nandina, Elaeagnus, Aralia, Aucuba, Cortaderia, Yucca, Santolina, Hypericum, Myrtle, Vinca, Achillea, Digitalis, Echinacea and Dryopteris. Finally, fencing is one method to protect garden crops from deer. Since deer jump, you need an 8-foot fence for best results or stout chicken-wire fencing securely around smaller garden plots. Alternatively, fence the area with a thorny shrub, preferably something that will grow to at least 6 feet. Deer eat roses and some thorns but hawthorn, boxwood and holly will exclude them. Deer are also deterred by dogs, hanging aluminum foil, mirrors, wood that hits objects in the wind and other noise-makers. Some old-fashioned repellents are human hair and blood and bonemeal. Hanging bars of fragrant deodorant soap from branches may work. Other well-known deer repellents are mothballs or moth flakes spread on the ground or put in mesh bags for hanging in a tree. Unfortunately though, no repellent is 100 percent effective, especially if the deer population is high and deer are starving.


Pruning guide I have received your pruning guide which is very helpful. I notice that hedging holly has to be pruned this month (August) but I have a pot grown holly bush which has become very stragly - is this the right time to prune it?

Dennis H Cook.

The pruning guidlines apply to all Holly plants, whether they are grown as hedges, trees or shrubs. I attach a copy of the pruning guide for your reference. Late summer is the best time to prune many midsummer-flowering shrubs to keep them vigorous and flowering well. It is also the ideal time to prune several trees that are prone to bleeding if pruned at other times, and it???s not too late to complete the pruning jobs for July if you haven???t got round to them yet. I???ve given practical advice for pruning Buddleja alternifolia, Buxus, Callistemon, Elaeagnus, x Fatshedera, Genista hispanica, Grevillea, Helianthemum, Laurus, Nerium, Philadelphus, Pyracantha and Thymus. SHRUBS Buddleja alternifolia This elegant deciduous shrub bears its scented flowers on stems produced the previous year. So to ensure good flowering next year you need to prune immediately after flowering is over, which can be anytime from late June to the beginning of August. Remove any dead or damaged growth and shorten lop-sided or over-long shoots to balance the overall shape of the shrub. Old and neglected shrubs can be rejuvenated by cutting out one-in-three stems, starting with the oldest. Either cut them back to a sideshoot lower down or remove them completely. You will loose some flowering shoots for next year but the shrub will be the better for it in subsequent years. Alternatively, cut back two-thirds of the oldest stems immediately after flowering.Callistemon (bottlebrush) The flowers of this exotic beauty are produced on the tips of new shoots. Encourage bushy growth when young by tip-pruning after flowering in summer. Well established plants do not usually need routine pruning, but if they out-grow their allotted space or have become neglected, they can be reduced in size by pruning in stages over two or three summers, cutting back older wood to younger, outward-facing shoots immediately after flowering. This will encourage new shoots from the base. Elaeagnus Deciduous Elaeagnus angustifolia and E. umbellata varieties require little routine pruning other than the removal of dead or damaged stems. Old and neglected plants can be rejuvenated by cutting back one-in-three stems, starting with the oldest. Give hedges their final trim next month. Evergreen varieties of Elaeagnus x ebbingei, E. glabra, E. macrophylla and E. pungens require little routine pruning other than the removal of dead or damaged stems. Overly long shoots that spoil the shrub???s shape can be cut back to a bud using secateurs. Remove any plain green-leaved shoots as soon as they appear, cutting them back to their origin. Evergreen hedges can be trimmed at this time of year too. x Fatshedera This hybrid between Fatsia and Hedera makes a splendid evergreen groundcover plant in mild areas. It can also be trained as a standard and as a climber. Little or no pruning is required other than the removal of wayward shoots and stems damaged by frost. At this time of the year, cut back vertical shoots on groundcover plants to keep them neat and compact and trim and tie in shoots on trained forms. Genista hispanica (broom) These spreading deciduous shrubs put on a fabulous show in early summer on stems produced the previous year. To retain the plant???s bushy shape lightly trim the flowered stems immediately after flowering. Do not prune back into woody stems because they are unlikely to re-sprout and never prune back hard since this may kill the shrub. Do not prune Genista lydia at all, since this does not respond to being cut back. Old and neglected shrubs are best replaced. Grevillea In mild areas this exotic evergreen shrub can form an attractive summer-flowering specimen. Little or no pruning is required other than the removal of wayward shoots and stems damaged by frost. You can encourage a bushy habit by lightly prune the tips of new growth once flowering has finished. Trim informal grevillea hedges at this time of year too.Ilex (holly) Bushy evergreen hollies such as Ilex crenata as well as holly trees trained as hedges, such as the common or English holly, can be pruned to shape now that the growth has stopped but before the stems are fully ripened. It is important to leave the pruning of formal hedges to this time to avoid re-growth that will spoil the hedge???s neat outline. Always use a pair of secateurs so that you can avoid damaging the leaves that remain on the hedge after trimming. Remove any plain green-leaved shoots on variegated varieties as soon as they are noticed, cutting them back to their origin. Laurus Little or no pruning is usually required on informal shrubs, other than the removal of dead or damaged stems. However, you can keep topiarized shrubs neat and rounded by pruning new growth back using a pair of secateurs. Bay laurel trained as standards will need any new shoots cut from the main stem. Hedges can also be trimmed for the second this time of year. Nerium In mild areas this borderline-hardy evergreen shrub requires little or no pruning other than the removal of wayward shoots and stems damaged by frost. You can encourage a bushy habit by lightly pruning the tips of new growth once flowering has finished. Philadelphus Several Philadelphus can be pruned at this time of year. You can prune mock orange (P. coronarius) now that flowering has finished to improve flowering for next year. Cut back flowered stems to a sideshoot that hasn???t produced flowers or to a plump bud. Congested plants can have one-in-three stems removed, starting with the oldest. Old and neglected plants can be rejuvenated in the same way. Alternatively you can prune in spring to get the best foliage displays. To ensure good flowering on Philadelphus ???Belle Etoile??? and ???Virginal??? which bear their blooms on stems produced the previous year, prune immediately after flowering is over. Well-established shrubs should have one-in-four stems removed, starting with the oldest. Either cut them back to a sideshoot lower down or remove them completely. Feeding the plant after pruning will help encourage vigorous growth. Old and neglected plants can have all old stems cut back to ground level in winter or early spring. You will loose some flowering shoots for next year but the shrub will be the better for it in subsequent years. Pyracantha (firethorn) Although Pyracantha is normally pruned in mid-spring, wall-trained specimens can be pruned for a second time at this time of the year to expose the developing fruit to make the most of the berry display. Sophora No routine pruning is usually necessary, other than the removal of dead flowers or damaged stems. This is best carried out during midsummer when the cuts are less likely to bleed. Wall-trained specimens need tying into their support and any wayward stems cut back or removed completely. Old and neglected plants are best replaced. Thymus (thyme) Little routine pruning is necessary other than the removal of dead or damaged stems. All plants should be rejuvenated by cutting back after flowering using garden shears to retain a neat, compact shape. But do not cut back into old wood since it is unlikely to re-sprout. Remove any plain green-leaved shoots on variegated varieties as soon as they appear, cutting them back to their origin. TREES Laburnum (golden rain) Laburnums are best pruned during late summer because they are prone to bleeding if pruned in spring or early summer. However, you can also prune them anytime up until Christmas. Laburnums make excellent specimen trees or can be trained as an eye-catching standard or over a sturdy arch or pergola to help show off their spectacular flower trails. Specimen trees should only be pruned to improve the shape of the canopy and to remove damaged stems, while trained forms will need regular pruning to maintain the shape of the plant so that the flower trusses can be clearly seen. Take care to remove any shoots that appear from below the graft on grafted trees. Laburnums are prone to cavities after severe pruning if the collar at the base of the branch is damaged or stumps are left behind. For this reason it is worth raising the canopy when the tree is still young and keeping the stem clear as it grows. Populus (poplar) Most poplar trees will form an attractive, well-balanced canopy without intervention and so require no pruning other than the removal of crossing or wind-damaged branches. Young trees should also be encouraged to produce a clear trunk, so remove lower side branches to gradually raise the canopy as the tree grows. Also remove any suckers back to their origin unless you are growing the tree as a windbreak, in which case the suckers will provide protection right down to ground level. Old and neglected trees do not respond to hard pruning and are best replaced. CLIMBERS Billardiera No routine pruning is required, other than the removal of crossing or damaged stems. Overgrown plants can be thinned by cutting back unwanted shoots to within a few buds of the main framework. This can be done now (after fruiting) or during early spring. Clianthus (lobster claw) Commonly called lobster claw or glory pea, this frost-tender evergreen climbing shrub can be grown outside in mild areas, where it will bear its distinctive flowers from spring to midsummer. Although no routine pruning is necessary, pruning when young and careful training will improve the overall display. Pinch out the shoot tips after planting to produce bushy growth from the base, then tie in new growth to the support. Once the support is covered, prune now that flowering is over to restrict its size and to remove any dead or damaged stems. Do not prune too heavily. Reduce older stems by about one-third to just above a well-placed side shoot lower down. Hydrangea petiolaris (climbing hydrangea) The climbing hydrangea is a popular, vigorous, deciduous plant that can be used to light-up north-facing walls with glossy foliage and heads of creamy white summer flowers. Although it can take a few years to get established, once it starts climbing there???s no stopping it. Little or no routine pruning is required, apart from removing the flowered shoots at this time of the year. To keep within bounds, prune back wayward shoots to a sideshoot lower down during the dormant season. Old and neglected plants can be cut back hard in winter, although you will miss out on the flowers for a few years. Schizophragma Little or no routine pruning is required, apart from removing the flowered shoots as they fade. Long, vigorous shoots can be cut back to a sideshoot lower down. Old and neglected plants do not respond well to severe pruning, so cut back over several years by removing one older shoot back to a new sideshoot near to the base each year and cut back overly long shoots by about one-third to keep the plant within bounds. Helen Plant Doctor


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