Golden Oakland® Holly

Ilex hybrid 'Magden' (PP# 30,450)

Golden Oakland® Holly

Ilex hybrid 'Magden' (PP# 30,450)


How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


The Golden Oakland® Holly is a bold evergreen, growing a foot a year to be 15 or 20 feet tall and up to 15 feet wide. The leaves are bright, light yellow, with a wide edge of yellow around a central area of yellow-green. New leaves in spring are solid yellow, before the central green area develops. The leaves are spiny, with a unique oblong form resembling the leaf of an oak tree. Grow it as a bright specimen on a lawn or in a bed, or among dark-leaf evergreens around your home. It is naturally dense and bushy, but can be trimmed if you wish. Make a spectacular hedge or screen with it, to hide an unsightly fence or wall, or create a backdrop for your garden.

  • Bold variegated leaves with a broad yellow margin
  • Vigorous growth to 15 or 20 feet tall
  • Attractive oak-leaf appearance to the spiny foliage
  • Perfect to brighten your winter garden
  • Ideal for colorful hedges and screening

Full sun will give the best color to the Golden Oakland® Holly, but it will grow with some shade too. It grows in all well-drained soils, preferring richer, moist and slightly acidic ones. Pests and diseases don’t normally cause any serious problems and it isn’t eaten by deer. Trim between late spring and early fall, as needed. This variety has not been reported to produce berries, but it is a female plant.

Plant Hardiness Zones 6-9
Mature Width 12-15
Mature Height 15-20
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
Zones 6-9

Holly trees are certainly among the most popular of all evergreens in areas where they can be grown. They make magnificent hedges and specimens, and their rich, dark green is admired by everyone. Sometimes, though, we want something more, some brightness, especially during the dark winter months. That’s when it’s time to turn to one of the variegated hollies, with their wonderful golden yellow leaves. But which one to choose? An exciting new variety has recently become available – the Golden Oakland® Holly. The Oakland® Holly, a special form of the hybrid oak-leaf holly, is already well-known for its vigor, rapid development, dense growth and reliability. Everything says that this new golden form, genetically identical except for the variegation, is going to be just as good. Leaping up with as much as 12 inches of growth a year, before you know it you will have a splendid, glowing specimen to brighten the darkest days, like a beacon of gold. Eventually reaching 15 or 20 feet tall, it has a perfect pyramidal form even if you don’t trim. Imagine that as a big screening hedge. The only thing lacking seems to be berries, but hey, you can’t have everything in life, right?

Growing the Golden Oakland® Holly

Size and Appearance

The Golden Oakland® Holly is an upright evergreen bush or small tree, growing at a rate of 8 to 12 inches a year, maturing to a pyramidal form that will be 15 to 20 feet tall and up to 15 feet across at the base. It has a very dense and neat growth habit, much more so than many other holly bushes. It remains bushy and well-limbed right to the ground for a very long time, but will in time mature to a tree with a short trunk, covered in smooth gray bark. The leaves are packed tightly along the branches, keeping the look solid and dense. The leaves are oblong, about 3 inches long and an inch or more wide. They typically have 6 sharp spines along each side, creating a lobed look that is distinctive, and tells us this is an oak-leaf holly, a hybrid known for vigor and rapid growth. The leaves are leathery, with a smooth, glossy surface. New leaves in spring are almost completely bright, light yellow. Soon a central blotch develops which is at first pale yellow-green, darkening to a light green which is still pale and yet bright. This is certainly one of the brightest golden hollies, and the pure-yellow outer area of the leaves is very wide and distinctive, not just a thin yellow line around a dark-green leaf.

The original Oakland® Holly is known for being one of the few hollies that will carry a good crop of its distinctive orange-red berries without another variety for pollination, but so far it seems this golden form doesn’t flower. That doesn’t mean yours won’t one day, but berries cannot be guaranteed on this variety.

Using the Golden Oakland® Holly in Your Garden

As a striking accent in a large bed, it would be hard to beat the Golden Oakland® Holly. Grow it among the dark evergreens around your home, in the foundation planting, for variety and color. Use it for a lawn specimen, or plant it at the edge of a woodland – wow! It would also make a spectacular hedge, trimmed or untrimmed, with the ability to give high screening. Plant bushes 3 feet apart for a smaller hedge, and 4 to 5 feet apart for taller screening.


The Golden Oakland® Holly is hardy and reliable, without winter damage, in all the warmer zones, from zone 6 to zone 9.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

Holly trees tolerate considerable shade, but for good color it would be best to give your Golden Oakland® Holly plenty of sunshine. It will take a couple of hours of shade each day, but too much will reduce the vigor and make the leaves greener. It grows best in rich, moist but well-drained soil that is neutral or slightly acidic. However, it is not demanding at all, and grows well in just about any well-drained soil. Poor, sandy soils should be enriched with organic material, and use some more as mulch. You will be amazed at how good the growth is.

Maintenance and Pruning

The vigor of the Golden Oakland® Holly means the typical pests and diseases of holly trees are less likely to become problems, and this tree is usually left alone by deer, so it will be easy to grow. Water regularly during the first season or two, and use some mulch and some fertilizer for evergreens in spring. This will maximize growth. The natural density of the branching means that pruning isn’t normally needed, but you can trim anytime between late spring, after the new growth has matured a little, and early fall. Don’t trim late in the season, as new growth could be damaged in the winter. Although generally stable, if you do see a plain-green branch on your tree, trace it back to where it is sprouting, and cut it out cleanly. You can also remove some lower branches as your bush grows, and create an attractive tree with a central trunk, if that suits your garden needs better.

History and Origin of the Golden Oakland® Holly

The oak-leaf holly is a hybrid plant between three species. The Chinese holly, Ilex cornuta, was crossed with Ilex perneyi. Then the seedlings were crossed with Ilex latifolia from Japan. This was done by Jack Magee, at his nursery in Poplaville, Mississippi, during the 1970’s and 80’s. In 1989 he spotted a part of one plant that had much denser, more compact branching. The plants he grew from that branch became the Oakland® Holly.

Robert E. Lee is an azalea nurseryman from Independence, Louisiana, famous for creating the Encore® Azaleas. He had Oakland® Holly growing in his nursery, and one day in 2006 he spotted a unique branch on one, with beautiful variegated leaves. The Golden Oakland® Holly was born. He patented it in 2019 with the name of ‘Magden’, and registered Golden Oakland® as its name. It has been released as part of the Southern Living® Plant Collection.

Buying the Golden Oakland® Holly at the Tree Center

We think this is the very best variegated holly to come onto the market in many years. We are sure you will too, and our growers have worked to make some gorgeous bushes for us to send you – true exactly to Robert Lee’s discovery. Don’t hesitate, because you will love this bush, and the brightness it brings. Order now.

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Golden Oakland® Holly

Ilex hybrid 'Magden' (PP# 30,450)