Holly of the Year 2006


Ilex × attenuata 'Sunny Foster' is the Gene Eisenbeiss Holly of the Year selection for 2006. It is an outstanding example of an I. × attenuata holly, a hybrid of I. cassine and I. opaca that was first described by Willard Ashe of Walton County, Florida, in 1924. 'Sunny Foster' is a leaf mutation of 'Foster No. 2' that was discovered by William Kosar at the National Arboretum. It was named and registered by Gene Eisenbeiss in 1982. The unusual foliage is narrow, about 1¾ inches (4.4 cm) long and ⅝ inch (1.6 cm) wide. If grown in full sun, the leaves are butter yellow. The plant is a female and bears bright red berries that contrast nicely with its yellow leaves. 'Sunny Foster' is slow growing and makes a good highlight plant. It normally grows in a pyramidal shape but can be used as an unusual topiary. Sprigs can be cut for bright leaves in wreaths and other holiday arrangements. This holly is hardy only to the warmest parts of USDA Hardiness Zone 6.

Ilex × attenuata 'Sunny Foster'

Holly of the Year
Photo by Bill Cannon

Holly of the Year
Photo by Linda Parsons