Yerba Mate, Yerba Maté, Paraguay Tea

Ilex paraguariensis

Family: Aquifoliaceae (a-kwee-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ilex (EYE-leks) (Info)
Species: paraguariensis (par-uh-gwar-ee-EN-sis) (Info)



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

This plant is suitable for growing indoors


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)


Unknown - Tell us


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


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

Gainesville, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Houston, Texas

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 31, 2009, KanapahaLEW from Alachua, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

We have two of these growing in the Herb Garden at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. One has been there for a number of years and is about 12 feet tall but spindly such that it fits into a small bed with other low-growing plants around it. We are somewhere between zones 8b and 9a and this tree had no problem with one night of 18 degreesF last Winter. The soil has a pH of 7.2 and the site is in full sun. The other specimen was just planted this year in a somewhat poorly-draining, semi-shady area so results are inconclusive at this time.


On Feb 21, 2004, lunavox from Seattle, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I decided to grow yerba mate as a houseplant because I adore it as a tea. I knew I wouldn't use my plant for tea, but I like to grow plants that have some significance for me.

It is VERY easy to grow indoors. Even in sparse winter light, with regular watering it grows fast. Very appreciative of the bits of seaweed fertilizer I give it occasionally. It's also resistant to spider mites (!!)


On Aug 21, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

Many kinds of tea are made from this plant, depending on how the herb is prepared. In the southern Brazilian states they drink a strong one called "chimarrão". Maté is also highly appreciated. Some studies, however, have been noticing a high incidence of mouth and throat cancer associated with the drinks made out of Ilex paraguariensis.


On Aug 21, 2003, criskolo wrote:

The leaves of this shrub are brewed to make a kind of tea called Maté in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. It contains caffeine, tastes bitter (that is why some people add sugar in it) but it is really good!!!