This large deciduous shrub from the southeastern United States takes center stage in fall and winter, when masses of bright berries adorn its upright gray branches. Clusters of small white flowers appear along the branches in mid-spring, not long after the bluntly toothed, shiny, medium-green leaves emerge. Male and female flowers occur on separate plants. Female plants that have a male possumhaw or male American holly (Ilex opaca) nearby produce quantities of round pea-sized berries which ripen orange or red in late summer or early fall. The leaves drop in late fall to fully expose the showy fruits. The fruits remain on the shrub until late winter, but pale and shrivel somewhat as winter progresses. Birds may harvest some fruits as winter deepens. This rounded shrub sometimes grows as a small multi-trunked tree.
Plant possumhaw in full to partial sun and moist to moderately dry, acidic soil. It will not tolerate the bitter cold of areas such as the Upper Midwest United States. Use it as an informal screen or accent in parks or large residential or commercial landscapes. It also makes a good roadside plant. One male will adequately pollinate several females. (info source: Learn2Grow.com)
Genus - Ilex
Species - Decidua
Common name - PossumHaw
Pre-Treatment - Required
Hardiness zones - 5 - 9
Height - 10'-30' / 3 - 9 m
Spread - 6'-25' / 1.80 - 7.60 m
Plant type - Shrub
Vegetation type - Deciduous
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Sun
Growth rate - Medium
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral
Soil type - Clay, laom, Sand, well drained
Water requirements - Drought tolerant, average water
Landscape uses - Use it as an informal screen or accent in parks or large residential or commercial landscapes.
Bloom season - Spring
Leaf / Flower color - Green / White
1. Grow holly from seed in autumn once daytime temperatures dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Soak the seeds in a bowl of cool water for 48 hours to soften the hard outer hull before sowing them.
2. Fill a seedling tray with a mixture of 3 parts compost and 1 part perlite. Firm the mixture and add more, if necessary, so the seedling tray is filled to the brim.
3. Sow the holly seeds in the seedling tray one inch apart and 1/4 inch deep. Spread a thin layer of coarse sand onto the surface of the mixture to help hold in moisture and to keep it cool.
4. Moisten the potting mix to a depth of 1 inch using a garden hose with a misting nozzle attachment. Maintain moisture within the mixture at a depth of 1 inch at all times during germination.
5. Place the seedling tray into a ventilated cold frame after sowing the holly seeds. Do not move the seedling tray once it is in the cold frame since sudden temperature fluctuations will cause the seeds to go dormant.
6. Close the ventilation on the cold frame in spring to help hold in warmth once daytime temperatures rise above 68 F during the day. Check the moisture level in the growing mixture often since the warmer temperatures will dry it out faster than during the cold winter months.
7. Watch for germination in late spring, but do not be discouraged if seedlings don't appear until autumn. As soon as they appear, transplant the holly seedlings into 1-gallon nursery containers filled with garden soil.
8. Keep the nursery containers inside the cold frame until the following spring. Water them regularly to a depth of 1 inch to keep them from wilting.
9. Move the holly seedlings from the cold frame to a sheltered, partially shaded spot once daytime temperatures reach 60 F in the spring. Keep them in their nursery containers until they grow to 6 inches in height, and then plant them in a sunny bed with good drainage.
Info source: eHow.com
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