Alphabetical Plant Listing

Ilex opaca (American Holly)

American Holly, White Holly, Prickly Holly, Evergreen Holly, Christmas Holly, Yule Holly


Beautifully shaped, Ilex opaca (American Holly) is an upright, evergreen tree of symmetrical, dense, pyramidal habit with stout, stiff branches bearing leathery, dark green leaves, 2-4 in. long (5-10 cm), adorned with spine-tipped teeth. Ilex opaca is dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate trees. It produces abundant small greenish-white flowers in spring that are followed by a profusion of attractive bright red berries on pollinated female trees. Extremely showy, they ripen in fall, persist into winter and enliven the winter landscape unless they are devoured by birds. Providing excellent year-round interest, American Holly is a popular landscape plant that can be used as a specimen, in groupings or as an evergreen hedge. The fruiting branches are popular Christmas decorations. Both a male and female plant are needed to produce the attractive red berries.

  • Grows up to 15-30 ft. tall (450-900 cm) and 10-20 ft. wide (300-600 cm). American Holly is a very slow-growing tree, adding only 6 in. per year (15 cm).
  • A full sun to part shade lover, this plant is best grown in average, consistently moist, acidic, well-drained soils. Excellent drainage is important. Appreciates some afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Protect plants from desiccating winter sun and winds.
  • Perfect as a specimen plant or in groupings, hedges or foundation plantings. The red fruited-branches make lovely home decorations.
  • Keep an eye out for holly leaf miner, spider mites, whitefly, scale, leaf spot, leaf rot, tar spot and powdery mildew. Deer resistant.
  • Propagate by seed in winter, semi-hardwood cuttings in summer or grafting in late summer.
  • Native to the eastern and central United States, from Massachusetts to Florida, west to Missouri and Texas.

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Requirements

Hardiness 5 – 9
Heat Zones 5 – 9
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Ilex - Hollies
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 15' – 30' (4.5m – 9m)
Spread 10' – 20' (3m – 6m)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Showy, Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Southwest, Oklahoma, Texas
Tolerance Clay Soil, Deer
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage

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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 5 – 9
Heat Zones 5 – 9
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Ilex - Hollies
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 15' – 30' (4.5m – 9m)
Spread 10' – 20' (3m – 6m)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Showy, Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Southwest, Oklahoma, Texas
Tolerance Clay Soil, Deer
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage

Great Plant Combination Ideas with Ilex - Hollies

Guides with Ilex - Hollies

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