The “Big Mack” holly, Ilex opaca, is a bold robust American Holly. Its medium dark green foliage is strongly highlighted with an abundance of brilliant red berries. It grows medium fast when young slowing down as it matures. Foliage is dense and the tree form is a rounded upright form. It is a picture of the holiday season holly.
We have chosen the hollies here from a large diverse planting. Our selections were made based on the best trees for leaf color, foliage density, berry set, form, and overall health. We observe these trees mid winter for good persistant green color through the winter months.
The Cave Hill #2 Holly was selected from trees growing in the famous Cave Hill Cemetary in Louisville Kentucky. This American Holly, Ilex opaca, was chosen for its good form, lusterous foliage and brilliant red berries. This selection is widely grown. Cave Hill #2 has a dense growth pattern. The trees are full, dark green with a heavy berry set. All female hollies benefit from having a male nearby.
Corpening #3 is a heavily fruited yellow berried American Holly with good form and healthy foliage. The yellow berries are unusal for Ilex opaca which normally has bright red berries. This is a truly unique American Holly.
Klein 10-26 is an American Holly selected by Theodore Klein for its healthy dark green foliage and bright red berries. The tree is nicely shaped and holds its color through the winter. Growth is vigorous and dense.
This female holly sets a medium number of bright red berries that hold well on the tree until the birds get them in late winter.
If there are no other American Hollies around, it will need to be paired with a male like Big Al in order to have berries. The bees will work the flowers whether a male is present or not.
The Maniq Holly is unique among American Hollies for its dark green foliage and heavy berry set. Its lusterous leaves hold their color throughout the winter months while most American Hollies take on a yellowish cast. Plenty of bright red berries contrast with the shiny green leaves to cheer up those cold winter days. Late in the winter season, Robins and Cedar Waxwings descend on this holly to devour those red berries in preparation for spring breeding.
The Rosebank Holly is on the site of the old Rosebank Nursery in Nashville Tennessee which according to their claim was the oldest nursery in the south. This majestic holly is growing in what was my great grandfathers front yard. My first tree climbing experience was in this great old holly tree. The tree is at least 100 years old and has survived at least two major tornadoes. It is still full to the ground with healthy foliage. It is a light berry producer with healthy foliage that holds its color well through the dreary days of winter.
Inkberry Holly, Ilex glabra is a native holly that grows naturally from Nova Scotia to Florida and west to Mississippi. It is hardy in zones 4 to 9.
Inkberry Holly is grown as a landscape plant for its glossy dark green foliage. Some selections grow thickly enough to be a substitute for Boxwoods. It is desirable for its ability to grow trouble free in acid soil and in wetter conditions. We are growing a selection named “Densa” which grows 3′ to 4′ tall and as wide and has dense attractive foliage.
Beekeepers know Inkberry as Gallberry. In parts of the south it grows in huge dense groves in swampy areas. Much of the comb honey produced in the US is Gallberry honey. The flowers on this plant are tiny but don’t let that fool you into thinking they won’t produce much honey. What they lack in size, they make up for in numbers. These flowers are almost unnoticeable to the eye but bees have no trouble finding them. When they do, they work them like crazy. The fruit is a small black berry that is not showy or messy. The birds will find the through the winter and eat them with relish.
Inkberry makes a great shrub that can be used to line a walkway or used as a foundation plant or used in any way where a dark green background is needed. It suffers from almost no disease or insect problems. Foliage may burn in winter if temperatures fall to -20 or below but plants will recover and new growth in spring will soon fill in. In warmer areas, they will remain a lush dark green all year.
Inkberry is a stealthy bee plant. Most will never know that this neat green shrub is a honey making powerhouse
Winter Red Holly is a female deciduous holly selected for its brilliant red berries that hang all winter. The latin name is Ilex verticillata.
The Winter Red Holly is typically 6′ to 10′ tall but with age and good growing conditions it can reach 30′. Most will never reach such height and the tree can be pruned to control size very easily.
The red berries are born from the profusion of female flowers that are open for a week or two in June. Bees love these flowers and for good reason, they are full of nectar. The berries are a favorite of winter birds. A male tree is necessary for berries but not for flowers.
These hollies can grow in very wet places but are equally at home in most landscapes.These very hardy hollies are at home in zones 3 to 9
A hedge of Winter Red Hollies with a single Southern Gentleman male will look like a wall of red against the snow of winter.