Plants That Survive & Thrive on the OBX – American Holly

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Join the Master Gardener℠ volunteers of Dare County in the coming weeks to discuss plants that have been proven to survive and thrive on the OBX!

American Holly 

Ilex opaca

American Holly is native slow-growing evergreen. It is an upright, pyramidal shaped tree that when matures can reach 40 to 60 feet. They make an attractive low maintenance fence; providing screening and shade.

Holly tree

Hollies are dioecious meaning male and female flowers are on separate trees. Both trees are needed for the female to produce bright red berries which will last from September to February.

Holly leaves

The tiny fragrant flowers are showy and attract pollinators like honeybees and butterflies. Holly blooms


  • Well-drained soil is most ideal.
  • Tolerate all soil types except clay soil.
  • Full sun to part shade.
  • Moderately salt & drought tolerant.
  • Attracts Pollinators.
  • Protection for wildlife.

Pest & Diseases

  • Holly Leaf Miner, White Flies, Spider Mites, and Scale.
  • Susceptible to Leaf Spot, Powdery Mildew, and Chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves in high PH).

Watch for signs of Holly Leaf Miner damage.

Holly leaf damage

Check back in the coming weeks to learn about more plants that survive and thrive on the Outer Banks.

Learn more about Master Gardener℠ volunteer programs in Dare County!

Written By

Amy Jordan, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionAmy JordanAgricultural Technician Program Assistant Call Amy E-mail Amy N.C. Cooperative Extension, Dare County Center
Updated on Aug 17, 2020
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