Prunus ilicifolia is a large shrub, with a height of approximately five to ten feet, that flourishes its best in full sun conditions, requiring moderate watering. The branches of Prunus ilicifolia are often spiny which give them an inclination towards ornamentation. The blooming period of the plant includes racemes of small but showy off-white flowers in the spring. These plant-pollinators attract a variety of interesting creatures to the garden, such as butterflies and hummingbirds. Its USDA zone varies, ranging from 6-10.
The Hollyleaf Cherry is not only ornamental, but it produces edible cherries. The fruit is dark purple or black, with a sweet and musky flavor. The fruit is mostly skin and seed, but the tart skin can still be enjoyed in small quantities, as well as the seed. In some areas, the drupes are used for baking, jellies, and preserves, or for juicing. The health benefits may include assisting with inflammation, boosting immunity, and promoting digestion.
Prunus ilicifolia is easy to grow and care for. It does well in full sun, needing scant water and tolerant of a wide range of soil types. In colder climates, these shrubs can be grown in pots and brought indoors during cold winter months. They like well-drained, slightly acidic soil and should be pruned lightly in the late winter or early spring. They can produce up to two pounds of fruit each year.