Common names: Yaupon holly
Botanical names: Ilex vomitoria
According to Texas A&M Extension Service,AgriLIFE Extension, yaupon holly is probably the most versatile evergreen holly for general use in Texas. It grows on almost any soil type and in sun or shade and is a Texas native. It is drought tolerant, but can also survive temporary poor drainage.
Yaupon holly is a large shrub. Leaves are small, ovate and without fall color. The red winter berries attract birds. The distinctive vase shape of yaupon holly requires about 10 years of maturity to be achieved in the home landscape. Plants may be trimmed as a hedge or trained into a small tree shape. Because of the leaf density, properly trimmed yaupon hollies may serve as a visual barrier or the shrub may be clipped as a topiary. Yaupon holly is an evergreen.
Size: 15 to 25 feet tall by 15 to 20 feet wide (dwarf varieties are available that reach about 3 feet in height)
Flowers: inconspicuous white flowers
Bloom time: spring
Leaves: small, ovate, green
Pests and Disease: few serious problems although yaupon holly may be attacked by aphids, scale, leaf miners, or mites.
Growing in North Texas
Plant yaupon holly in winter to early spring in a slightly acidic, well-prepared soil with good drainage. Full sun improves berry production and color. However, the shrub grows well in partial shade. Only the female yaupon holly produces berries, so check with your nursery professional or landscaper at the time of purchase. A close by male – within a few hundred feet — will provide pollination. Water weekly during the first year. Yaupon holly is drought tolerant. Therefore, supplemental watering after the plant is established is only required during very dry summers. Sprouts from roots need to be cut to the ground two to three times per year to maintain attractive appearance.
Warning: Although birds enjoy yaupon holly berries, they are toxic if swallowed by humans. Yaupon holly leaves, however contain, caffeine and can be used to make a mildly stimulating drink.
Texas AgriLIFE Extension: Holly
“Easy Gardens for North Central Texas”; Steve Huddleson; Color Garden Publishing; 2009
“Native Texas Plants”; Sally Wasowski; Lone Star Books; 1997
“Plants of the Metroplex”; John Howard Garrett; University of Texas Press; 1998
“Trees of Texas”; Carmine Stahl; Texas A&M University Press; 2003
shade, perennial, flowering, shrub