Possumhaw Holly is a Focal Point!

This is the time of year that the sometimes-forgotten native shrub Possumhaw Holly truly shines.  Ilex decidua is a true holly but one that loses its leaves in the winter which is why it’s often referred to as deciduous holly.  The naked branches of the female holly are perfect for displaying the multitude of colorful berries.  The berries range from orange to bright red and the stark display is hard to beat for winter color.

The Possumhaw Holly is native to the Texas Hill Country and grows as far east of here to Florida.  It is very drought tolerant and will thrive in full sun to part shade.  This plant is typically seen as a multi-trunked small tree or shrub.  In the wild you can often find them as an understory plant among oak trees.  Driving through the hill country in the winter you will often find the Possumhaw as just bright spots of red in the landscape which is the best way to locate them since they tend to be somewhat nondescript in comparison during the growing season.

When designing a landscape, I often use Possumhaw Holly as a focal point up against a light-colored exterior wall. Since they retain their berries far into the winter season the display is a long-lasting and interesting look.  Late winter is when the birds usually discover this holly’s fruit.  Cedar Waxwing and Mockingbird both love the berries and will feast on them until they’re gone!

The deer also love the Possumhaw Holly so if you plant one in your landscape you’ll need to protect it with a  wire cage until it’s above browsing height.  Even if you plant a larger specimen you might want to keep the trunk protected for a year of two until the circumference grows large enough to not be attractive to male deer shedding velvet.

We offer free estimates for any landscaping needs you might have for your business or your home!  Call NativeScapes Landscaping today and ask for your free landscaping evaluation!  830.608.0204

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x