Plant type

Evergreen shrub or tree


25m x 8m (or can be trimmed to size)

Wildlife benefit

Bird (berries and shelter), bee, butterfly caterpillar, moth caterpillar and small mammal plant

  • Adaptable, tough evergreen, native to Britain. Can be trimmed or pruned hard to restrict size, though berries form on two-year old wood so regular trimming reduces its wildlife benefits. Full sun or part shade tolerated.
  • Pick from numerous variegated forms but ensure you get a female form to guarantee berries.
  • Small white flowers are followed by red or sometimes yellow or orange berries, depending on cultivar.
  • Berries eaten by Blackbird, Chaffinch, Collared dove, Fieldfare, Mistle thrush, Redwing, Robin, Song thrush, Waxwing, Woodpigeon, Yellowhammer.
  • Goldcrest eats spiders and insects in foliage.
  • Bee plant, especially nectar.
  • Holly Blue Butterfly lays eggs on flowers for larvae to feed on developing holly berries.
  • Privet Hawk-Moth food plant.
  • Small mammals such as mice and voles, as well as foxes will eat berries.