Holly comes in many forms, from large trees to dwarf shrubs. Some make excellent hedges, while others shine alone as accent plants.

There are three hollies native to Florida: American, Yaupon, and Dahoon, as well as a hybrid of American and Dahoon, called East Palatka holly.

All four produce the shiny green leaves and red berries we associate with "Christmas holly." Only the female plants produce berries, which are also a source of food for wildlife.

Holly plants have many different leaf shapes, varying from small to quite large. The growth forms also can vary from upright to weeping types.

Hollies will tolerate a wide range of light and soil conditions. They require minimal pruning, except to train the plants for special purposes or to remove diseased or dead branches.

Once your holly is happily established in your yard, use its attractive foliage in indoor arrangements or enjoy watching birds feed on the berries outside.

American robin in weeping holly tree

A robin in a holly tree. Photo by Ken Thomas.

UF/IFAS Publications

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