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Common Name:

English Holly

Scientific Name:

Ilex aquifolium

Family Name:



Ilex aquifolium is the classic Christmas holly grown for florist's arrangements and seasonal decoration. It has perhaps the most attractive dark glossy green foliage and bright red berries of any Ilex spp. English Holly is also available in yellow and white variegated leaf forms and with yellow berries on some female clones. English Holly is generally poorly adapted to Texas landscapes.

Plant Habit or Use:

Shrub, medium shrub, large shrub, tree, small tree


sun, partial sun

Flower Color:

Light green, inconspicuous.

Blooming Period:


Fruit Characteristics:

Bright red, orange, or yellow berries are the primary fall / winter feature of this species, grown commercially for fruiting branches


If surviving in Texas 8 ft to 12 ft, in its native environment it can reach 30 ft to 50 ft in height


4 ft to 8 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: Low Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: High Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: High Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Medium Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

6, 7, 8

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

In an effort to extend the useful range of this species, efforts at grafting on species with better tolerance to Texas conditions is being tried. Trials are not yet old enough to yield useful data.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.