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American holly

Ilex opaca

EYE-leks oh-PAK-ah

This erect, evergreen large shrub or tree reaches 40 to 50 feet tall and 20 to 40 feet wide. Leathery dark green leaves have pointy, scalloped edges. Small green berries appear in late summer, maturing to crimson by autumn and persisting through the winter. Some ripen to yellow or orange. Use American holly as a specimen tree or in a woodland garden.

CareGrow in moderately fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil. Hollies are dioecius, so a few male plants are needed for a female plant to produce berries. Can be kept shrub-like by pruning in the spring. Plant or transplant in spring.

PropagationSemi-ripe cuttings in summer or early autumn.

ProblemsYoung shoots are susceptible to aphids. Also watch for scale insects and leaf miners. Phytophtora root rot sometimes occurs.

  • Genus : Ilex
  • Plant Height : 30 feet or more
  • Plant Width : 30 feet or more
  • Zones : 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Characteristics : Evergreen, North American Native, Showy Fruit
  • Uses : Foundation Plantings, Screening/Hedges, Sun
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Foliage Color : Green
  • Maintenance : Low
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Growth Rate : Moderate
  • Plant Type : North American Natives, Shrubs, Trees
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Spring Interest

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