Weeping Yaupon Holly
Add color and whimsy to your yard with weeping yaupon holly, an interesting tree that bears clusters of bright berries each winter along its cascading branches.
It may look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, but weeping yaupon holly is a great choice for real-life Florida yards.
Like many other hollies, weeping yaupon holly is an evergreen shrub or small tree that is loved for the colorful berries it produces on the female plants. The berries range from orange to red, and are somewhat translucent. Birds and other wildlife will feed on them through the winter months.
Because of their cascading form, weeping yaupon hollies are relatively compact. They usually grow 15 or 20 feet tall with a spread of 10 to 20 feet, though some can grow up to 30 feet tall and 25 feet wide.
Weeping yaupon holly is known scientifically as Ilex vomitoria 'Pendula.' This species of tree is native to Florida and requires little irrigation or maintenance once the trees are established.
They are best suited for USDA hardiness zones 7a-9b.
Planting and Care
Weeping yaupon hollies should be planted in a spot where they'll receive full or partial sun. They'll tolerate a range of soils and conditions.
You'll need to buy a female holly if you want a plant that produces berries. Your best bet is to shop for a holly during the winter and purchase one that already has berries on it.
Plant your weeping yaupon holly using the same techniques you'd use to plant any shrub or tree. Dig a hole that is at least one-and-a-half times as wide as the root ball but slightly shallower. Then remove any roots that are circling around the inside of the pot or around the trunk, and shave off the outer layer of the root ball using a sharp knife.
Once you place the holly into the planting hole, the top of the root ball should sit about an inch above the surrounding soil. Fill in around the root ball with the remaining soil. Apply mulch starting at the edge of the root ball and extending outwards, and water the root ball two to three times each week for the first year.
As the tree grows, you may need to do a small amount of pruning to maintain its unique shape. You can also limb up lower branches if you want to expose the lower trunk.
Weeping yaupon holly is relatively free of serious pests and diseases, although scale, leaf miners, mites, and aphids can sometimes be a problem.
For more information on weeping yaupon holly, contact your county Extension office.