Yaupon (Ilex vomitoria) An Evergreen Holly Shrub for the South

Yaupon, Ilex vomitoria, is a good broadleaf evergreen shrub for southern landscapes. Yaupon is grown for its fruits and evergreen foliage. Get facts on growing yaupon and other holly varieties in your southern landscape.


Yaupon with berries

Yaupon holly grows in warm areas of Zones 7-10 and will grow up to 18’h x 12’w. It has somewhat of an irregular form that makes it good for a screening plant, a hedge or foundation plant.

Ilex vomitoria varieties are among the best small-leaved evergreen hollies for the South. It is a tough, adaptable plant with dark evergreen leaves and bright red berries. Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants, so plant both male and female types if you want the berries. Female flowers are followed by small bright red berries that persist through fall and winter. The bark is smooth and gray and is often mottled with yellow-green patches of lichen.

Yaupon is commonly grown as a trimmed hedge, screen, or windbreak. Dwarf yaupon such as ‘Nana’ is perfect for foundation planting, and their drought and disease resistance make them ideal for low-maintenance landscapes. Use them in natural plantings, and their drought and disease resistance makes them ideal for low-maintenance landscapes. Use them in natural plantings and whenever possible to provide food and shelter for wildlife. The berries are an important source of food for birds and other wildlife in late winter.

Yaupon holly’s fast growth rate and small leaves make it a perfect choice for topiary. Ilex variety tolerates drought, salt, and wet soils. It grows in full sun to shade, but plants are more compact with denser foliage when grown in sun.

"Ilex vomitaria"

Dwarf yaupon holly

Care of Ilex vomitoria

Ilex vomitotis is easily transplanted in spring or at almost any time of the year. Water new plants weekly. Older more mature plants will be drought tolerant. Prune them to maintain a certain from. Plants can become weedy as birds disperse the seeds far and wide.

Propagation is by planting seeds or digging up suckers to plant. For selected varieties propagate by cuttings to preserve desirable attributes. You will also find that cuttings will be difficult to root.

Best Related Species

‘Nana’ (dwarf yaupon holly) is a symmetrical, dense holly with a rounded form that requires only infrequent pruning to maintain its 4-6’ height and spread. Unpruned plants will eventually grow 7-10’ tall and slightly wider. It is ideal as a low-growing foundation plant and as a tall ground cover for a large-scale commercial or industrial landscape. It can be sheared into a formal hedge or topiary shapes. It is often “meatballed” into a globe. The small gray-green leaves have no spines. This female cultivar will seldom produce berries.

‘Burford Chinese holly (Ilex cornuta ‘Burfordii’) is a large shrub or small tree to 20’ tall. It is hardy in Zones 7-9. It bears red fruits even without any pollination.

Japanese holly (Ilex Crenata) produces black fruits on shrubs 5-10’ tall in Zones 5-7.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: