Native Maryland Plants for Winter

American Holly


American holly is a classic evergreen with an upright, pyramidical habit.  It is very tolerant making it a good choice for many landscapes.  The American holly is dioecious, meaning plants are either male or female and at least one of each is necessary for flowering and fruiting.   It has thick, dark green leaves and blooms greenish white flowers in spring, males in clusters and females solitary.  The most noteworthy characteristic is its beautiful, contrasting red berries present in winter, making it a popular holiday choice for decorative greeneries.  Also great for attracting birds to your garden.

LGS Notes:

What’s not to love about a native evergreen tree that provides food and habitat for birds too?!   Additionally, there are cultivars on the market  such as ‘Maryland Dwarf’ and ‘Jersey Knight’ that offer reduced height and/or width, making this an accessible choice for smaller gardens as well. – Amy

I have a wonderful experience watching dozens of robins descending on our holly tree in the back yard in the winter. It was such a winter treat to see them all flying around and enjoying the berries. This is one of the few native evergreens and one of fewer native evergreens that tolerate shade. -Lauren


Latin Name: Ilex opaca
Common Name: American holly
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Aquifoliaceae
Native Range: Eastern and central United States
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 15.00 to 30.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Creamy white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Evergreen
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest, Thorns
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil, Air Pollution