Satyr Hill American Holly

Ilex opaca 'Satyr Hill'

Satyr Hill American Holly

Ilex opaca 'Satyr Hill'

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.


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 Satyr Hill American Holly is a unique selection that always delivers a bumper crop of berries for the holidays. When not doing that it makes a wonderful evergreen hedge, bush or specimen tree. The handsome leaves are always lush and green, and this native variety can never become invasive – it is already at home. It grows as much as 4 feet a year when young, soon becoming a tall hedge or a tree 35 feet tall and 20 feet wide. Plant it in natural wooded areas, where it will thrive beneath large deciduous trees.

  • Big crops of bright-red berries – one of the best
  • Handsome foliage is rich green all year round
  • A very fast-growing variety for quick results
  • Native species, so never invasive
  • Drought and deer resistant

Plant the Satyr Hill American Holly in full sun or partial shade. It grows well in most garden soils, preferring rich, moist, well-drained soils that are acidic or neutral. It is normally free of pests and diseases and ignored by deer. Trim in late spring and late summer for a dense, compact hedge or lawn tree.

Plant Hardiness Zones 5-9
Mature Width 15-25
Mature Height 30-40
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
Zones 5-9

Holly trees are among the most popular of all evergreens, and no wonder. Their bright red berries in late fall and over the holiday season draw us back to the deep traditional roots of Christmas, as well as brightening those dark days, with a promise of the return of color to our drab gardens. Their very popularity means there are many varieties to choose from, but if berries are what you want, then few, if any, can challenge the Satyr Hill American Holly for abundance and brightness. Not only does this tree overflow with large, brilliant-red berries, the handsome foliage is showy too, and this plant is very fast-growing, adding as much as 4 feet a year when young. A hedge or attractive specimen is just a few short years away – and a full-sized tree not so many more.

Growing the Satyr Hill American Holly

Size and Appearance

The Satyr Hill Holly is a large evergreen shrub or tree, which quickly reaches 10 feet tall, and within 20 years becomes a 25-foot tree with a broad, sturdy trunk. Clipping will maintain it as a hedge or smaller specimen. Mature trees can be as much as 40 feet tall and 25 feet wide, so if you aren’t planning to trim annually, allow plenty of room for it, and don’t plant beneath overhead wires or too close to your house. This tree has a broad pyramidal crown and a thick trunk, covered in smooth, gray bark. The look of the trunk is reminiscent of the beauty of the beech tree.

The leaves are large, between 3 and 5 inches long, and unusually broad, giving a bold look to the branches, and making a dense crown. The oval leaves are edged with a row of sharp spines, so a hedge is impenetrable, and a very secure barrier to intrusions. The leaves are a rich mid-green, with olive overtones, and they retain their color well throughout the winter.

The flowers appear in May, when you will see clusters of greenish-yellow tiny blooms on short stalks along the stems of older branches. A young tree may take a few years to begin to bloom, but when it does, blooming is profuse, giving an abundant crop of berries. These are a full ½ inch across in big clusters, and by October they will have changed from green to glowing orange-red, shining through the branches and ready to be harvested for wreaths, table decorations or vases. This female tree needs a male tree as a pollinator to ensure a big crop.


You or a neighbor may already have a male holly in the garden, but if not, we recommend the Jersey Knight American Holly as an ideal pollinator for your Satyr Hill Holly. Not only will Jersey Knight give your tree an abundant crop, it is a handsome evergreen with very dark-green leaves. As well, if you have other female holly trees of almost any kind, Jersey Knight will pollinate them too, and suddenly those bushes you thought would never bear fruit will be smothered in berries. For hedges allow one male tree for every 3 to 5 female trees, scattering them along the row. In the garden the male tree should be planted within 100 feet of your female trees.

Using the Satyr Hill American Holly in Your Garden

Holly trees are so popular because they are so versatile, and the Satyr Hill American Holly is no exception. Plant it in a row, spacing bushes 3 or 4 feet apart, to quickly grow a dense, impenetrable evergreen hedge that will be decorated in winter with showy berries. Grow a tree on a lawn, clipped into a pyramid, alone or in a group of 3, for a great garden feature. Plant it as screening along a boundary. Copy its natural habit and plant on the edges of wooded areas, where it will grow into a splendid specimen tree.


The Satyr Hill Holly grows well from zone 5 to zone 9, thriving in hot and dry areas that the English holly (Ilex aquifolium) doesn’t like. If the leaves drop in zone 5 during an exceptionally cold winter, don’t cut off the bare branches, as they will soon leaf out again once spring comes.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

Grow the Satyr Hill Holly in full sun in cooler zones, and with afternoon shade in hot zones. It thrives in the light shade beneath deciduous trees. The ideal soil is moist, rich, well-drained and acidic, but this tough plant grows well in most garden soils, except for very wet, undrained areas.

Maintenance and Pruning

Left to grow naturally the Satyr Hill Holly needs virtually no attention, besides regular watering during the first year or two it is establishing itself in your garden. It is usually free of pests or diseases and avoided by deer. Trimming can be done in late spring, once the new leaves have darkened in color, and in late summer. Don’t trim in late fall, especially in cooler zones. For the maximum berry crop, trim if needed in summer, when the green berries will be visible, so that you can avoid removing too many.

History and Origin of the Satyr Hill American Holly

The American holly, Ilex opaca, grows across the east, from New York to Texas and northern Florida. It grows westwards as far as Oklahoma and Indiana. Growing in low-lying parts of woodlands, wild trees can reach 60 feet and live for centuries. Stuart McLean is a big fan of the American holly. At his nursery on Satyr Hill Road, Parkville, Maryland, he grows thousands of trees and produces hundreds of Christmas wreaths too. In 1970 he found a seedling at his nursery that was unique, with great foliage and profuse berry crops. He named it ‘Satyr Hill’.

Buying the Satyr Hill American Holly at The Tree Center

The Satyr Hill Holly is a top-quality variety, and not a cheap seedling tree. It is kept pure by growing from stem pieces, and we recommend you always choose named varieties for your plants, for the best results. This popular tree is always in high demand, so order yours now – don’t forget that Jersey Knight Holly as well – and look forward to boughs of berries for your holiday decorating.

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Satyr Hill American Holly

Ilex opaca 'Satyr Hill'