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Ilex opaca – American Holly

Ilex opaca – American Holly

Ilex opaca, or American Holly, is an iconic evergreen tree renowned for its glossy, dark green leaves and bright red berries that adorn the landscape in winter.

Ideal for use as a privacy screen, specimen tree, or hedge, American Holly is a versatile and hardy addition to any garden.

This native species offers not only aesthetic appeal with its classic Christmas tree shape but also supports local wildlife, providing shelter and food for birds.

Adaptable to a range of soil types and conditions, American Holly thrives in full sun to partial shade, making it a resilient and beautiful choice for gardeners looking to enhance their outdoor space.

1 Gallon Size currently on backorder, expected availability beginning 10/1/2024.


Please note: Most pictures represent mature plants. Unless otherwise specified, all of our plants are sold in 4″ pots to make shipping possible and will mature in time.

Learn more about how the process works and how our plants are delivered.

Plant in 4" pot

Additional information



Common Name

American holly


Broadleaf Evergreen



Native Range

Central United States, Eastern United States


5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Height Range (ft.)

15.00 to 30.00

Spread (ft.)

10.00 to 20.00

Bloom Time


Bloom Description

Creamy White


Full Sun, Part Shade













Thorns, Winter Interest

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Product Description

Embrace the timeless beauty and ecological significance of Ilex opaca, commonly known as American Holly, a native evergreen tree that embodies the spirit of the American landscape. With its dense foliage of glossy, dark green leaves and striking red berries, American Holly serves as a focal point in any garden, offering visual interest and vibrant color throughout the year.

Why American Holly?

  • Year-Round Beauty: The deep green leaves and bright red berries of American Holly provide a stunning contrast against the winter landscape, while its evergreen nature ensures lushness and color in all seasons.
  • Wildlife Habitat: This tree plays a crucial role in supporting local ecosystems, offering nesting sites for birds and food sources from its berries.
  • Versatility in Landscaping: Whether planted as a standalone specimen, a dense privacy screen, or an ornamental hedge, American Holly adapts to various design needs with elegance and ease.
  • Durable and Adaptable: Resistant to pests and diseases, American Holly is suited for a wide range of environmental conditions, from coastal areas to urban settings.

Growing American Holly

  • Sunlight and Shade: Prefers full sun to partial shade, with berry production best in sunnier spots.
  • Soil Requirements: Adapts to acidic, well-drained soils but is versatile enough to thrive in different soil types.
  • Watering: Regular watering is needed to establish young trees, with mature specimens being moderately drought-tolerant.
  • Spacing: For hedges or group plantings, space trees about 15-20 feet apart to allow for growth and air circulation.

Landscape Uses and Inspiration

American Holly’s majestic form and seasonal beauty make it a cherished addition to landscapes seeking year-round interest and natural elegance. Its berries add a festive touch during the holiday season, making it an excellent choice for decorative wreaths and arrangements. Beyond its ornamental value, planting American Holly contributes to the restoration of native plant populations and the support of biodiversity in your garden.

Contributions to Biodiversity

By incorporating American Holly into your landscape, you’re not just enhancing the beauty of your garden but also contributing to the health of your local ecosystem by providing essential habitats and food sources for wildlife.

Incorporate Ilex opaca into your garden or landscape to celebrate the beauty and resilience of native American flora. With its classic elegance, ecological benefits, and adaptability, American Holly is a standout choice for gardeners and landscapers alike, promising to bring joy and life to your outdoor space for years to come.


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Summer Shipping Concerns

Please expect some delays in shipping during summer months!

Shipping perishable items in the heat of summer can be tricky to say the least. Our goal is to try to get your plants to you in the best shape possible.

This means we may hold off on shipping items during periods of excessively high temperatures to give your new plants the best chance of surviving their journey in good shape.