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The Plant Guide

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Possumhaw holly

Ilex decidua

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While the fresh green leaves and smooth, light gray stems are enough to make possumhaw holly an attractive shrub, the appeal of this plant is more evident in late fall. Bunches of small berries form along the branches and turn bright red as the leaves fall off. Only female plants bear fruit (plant at least one male plant for best berry production), which finally becomes palatable to wildlife in the early spring. Possumhaw tends to sucker from the roots, so it’s best to allow it to form a multitrunk screen.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsBright red berries in fall and winter. U.S. native.

CareProvide full sun to partial shade and moist, fertile soil.

ProblemsNothing serious, but watch for the occasional leaf spots or powdery mildew.

  • Genus : Ilex
  • Plant Height : 10 to 15 feet
  • Plant Width : 10 to 15 feet
  • Zones : 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Fall Interest
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Maintenance : Low
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Characteristics : Showy Fruit
  • Plant Type : Shrubs
  • Bloom Time : Spring
  • Flower Color : White
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