Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: English Holly
Ilex aquifolium

Family: Aquifoliaceae (a-kwee-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ilex (EYE-leks) (Info)
Species: aquifolium (a-kwee-FOH-lee-um) (Info)

4 members have or want this plant for trade.


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
4.5 or below (very acidic)
4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

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There are a total of 19 photos.
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1 positive
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative the1pony On Nov 28, 2009, the1pony from (Pony) Lakewood, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Horribly invasive in the Pacific Northwest. Seedlings pop up everywhere, and they're next to impossible to get out without breaking off the looooong root. If you leave even a tiny piece behind, they come right back. Nasty prickly invaders of yards!

Neutral CaptMicha On May 3, 2005, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

Holly is an attractive easy plant. Make sure to water when establishing or plants may fail, which happened to me a few times.

Plants do well if planted in large groupings. More flowers and berries.

Mine are growing in part sun in sweet soil. The ones in the deeper shade have more and darker leaves than the ones in the most sun. The ones in the most sun have the most flowers and berries.

I haven't observed animals eating the berries but have seem baby birds sheltering and animals making burrows in the crowns of the plants.

Positive PurplePansies On Jul 16, 2003, PurplePansies from Deal, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

I garden in the Mid-Atlantic area of the U.S, and Holly truly does wear the crown! Evergreen leaves lovely all year, especially when covered by snow. Bright red berries of course. Cut branches make wonderful Christmas arrangements.

A superb plant for, and attractive to, wildlife; prickly leaves guard birds and small mammals, and berries provide food. Seems to prefer sun and acidic soil, however, very adaptable and easy to grow. May self-sow and create seedlings nearby. Seedlings are rare though, and not at all nuisance-like, give to a friend or keep for yourself.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 31, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Sun or partial shade. Needs protection from sun in hot, dry areas. For good fruit set a male shrub is needed. Over 200 cultivars! They may be grouped as non-variegated (green-leaved) or variegated.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Lake City, Florida
Olathe, Kansas
Shreveport, Louisiana
Brookeville, Maryland
Brewster, Massachusetts
Rowley, Massachusetts
West Tisbury, Massachusetts
Summit, Mississippi
Lakewood, Washington

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