Ilex vomitoria, commonly known as yaupon or yaupon holly, is a species of holly that is native from southern Virginia south to Florida and west to southeast Oklahoma and central Texas.
Yaupon is a picturesque, upright, single- or multi-trunked shrub or small tree. The leaves are dark green and small, usually less than 1 1/2 in. long. The pale gray bark is marked with white patches. The leaves are alternate, ovate to elliptical with a rounded apex and crenate or coarsely serrated margin. Must have both a male and female plant to have berries. Nursery plants are typically female (fruiting) and are propagated by cuttings.
- Produces inconspicuous white flowers in the spring.
- Female plants produce prodigious amounts of bright red, persistent berries.
- growing 12-45 ft high but usually no higher than 25 ft.
In the Garden
Yaupon Holly is often grown in residential landscapes and trimmed into hedges, with many cultivars popular: weeping forms, columnar forms, and dwarf forms. When selecting plants, pick a variety that suites your garden or landscape needs.
It is slow-growing and tends to get thick and twiggy on the inside, making it ideal for dense hedges but requiring careful pruning to shape it into a tree.
Caring & Growing
This shrub is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 11, with hardiness varying by species.
Prefer full sun to part shade.
The Yaupon Holly is adapted to a variety of soil types with its superior level of shade and drought tolerance. Grows well in moderately fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil . Acidic or neutral soil is needed by this plant for proper growth. It does best in sandy soils, but is able to handle other types also.
Needs regular watering – weekly, or more often in extreme heat.
Feed with a general purpose fertilizer before new growth begins in spring.
For a tidy, neat appearance, shear annually to shape during winter.