Weeping Yaupon HollyIlex vomitoria 'Pendula'
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Ilex vomitoria 'Pendula'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Weeping Yaupon Holly is an extraordinary and special evergreen tree the forms a narrow, upright plant with graceful weeping branches. It has beautiful mottled bark and it quickly grows to be 30 feet tall and only 12 feet wide. The hanging branches carry small leaves with no spines, and in winter it has clusters of bright red berries that feed wild birds. This very tough but beautiful plant is ideal for hot areas and coastal planting, as a lawn specimen, at the back of shrub beds, or in natural areas.
Plant the Weeping Yaupon Holly in full sun or partial shade. It grows in just about any soil, from clay to sand and acid to alkaline. Once established it tolerates both drought and flooding, and it is very tolerant to salt, growing in coastal areas and around brackish water. It has no pests or diseases and it needs no training or support to develop its graceful pendulous form.
We all know the story of the ugly duckling. Well there are plant stories like that too. This one is about a gangly, awkward-looking young plant that sits in the garden center trying to attract someone’s attention. Everyone passes it by, until one day a kind-hearted gardener takes it home and plants it. Grateful, the ugly young plant quickly grows into a beautiful and graceful weeping tree – a swan among ducks. Every winter it decorates its branches with glowing red berries, and everyone who passes by admires this beautiful tree. You think this is just a fairy-tale? No, it will come true in your garden when you choose the Weeping Yaupon Holly. The young plant won’t look like much, but once established it will grow 3 feet a year, soon becoming a graceful weeping tree that you will love and be so glad you planted. Now read on…
The Weeping Yaupon Holly is a native American evergreen holly tree that doesn’t look at all like our ideas of ‘holly’. It grows strongly and quickly into a slender tree with a rounded crown of weeping branches, not that different from a weeping willow. It grows 3 feet a year when young to become 15 to 30 feet tall, and even to 50 feet in time. Yet it has a width of just 6 to 12 feet, so it doesn’t take up a lot of room in your garden. The weeping branches are thin, but it develops a strong trunk that is very attractive, covered in scaly, mottled bark in shades of white and gray.
The leaves are small and slender, no more than 2 inches long and 1 inch wide, with scalloped edges that are a mere hint of the spines of many other holly bushes. They are leathery, glossy and deep green, holding their color well in both the heat of summer and through the winter months.
This is a female tree, and if pollinated by a male Yaupon it will develop clusters of many ¼ inch red berries along the stems by late fall. These are slightly translucent, with a sparkling glow, and they persist through the winter, providing food for many wild birds. Male trees are hard to come by, but even if your tree doesn’t produce berries, its beautiful weeping form is a great reason to grow it.
The Weeping Yaupon Holly is a beautiful specimen tree to grow on a lawn, at the back of a bed, by a stream or near large trees in a more natural setting. It’s striking form is very appealing, so plant it where it can be seen and enjoyed. Allow enough room for its final height, as this is not a tree that should be trimmed.
This tree is hardy in warm areas and grows from zone 7 to zone 9. Unlike many other hollies it is tolerant of extreme heat, and drought, so it grows well in all the hottest states.
The Weeping Yaupon Holly grows well in full sun, even in hot areas, as well as in partial shade, and even light full shade beneath open trees. It is very adaptable to all kinds of soil, from clays to sands as well as shallow, rocky soils. It thrives in both acid and alkaline soils, and this tough and dependable tree grows vigorously just about anywhere. It is also tolerant of flooding and drought, and very tolerant of salt spray, so it can be planted by the shore and by brackish lagoons.
No special attention is needed to grow the Weeping Yaupon Holly, making it very low-maintenance. Unlike many other weeping trees, it needs no permanent staking or support. Just give it a small stake to get started, and once the trunk has thickened a little it will take off and grow into a beautiful weeping tree without needing any permanent stakes at all. Pests or diseases are normally never problems and this tough tree thrives everywhere.
The Yaupon Holly, Ilex vomitoria, has an unfortunate scientific name, which comes from the false idea that it causes vomiting. This had been seen by early settlers among native Americans using it for purification rituals. In fact, a tea that can be made from the dried leaves may be high in caffeine, and can cause sweating, but it normally doesn’t cause vomiting. This tree grows wild mostly in coastal areas, on sand dunes and salt marshes, all around the Gulf of Mexico and through northern Florida as far north as Virginia. In 1960 the botanist S.L. Solymosy, from the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, discovered a unique plant of a Yaupon holly growing wild. He collected branches from it, and this became the variety we call ‘Pendula’, the Weeping Yaupon Holly.
This wonderful plant will be a real highlight of any southern garden, and it deserves to be more widely grown. It is often hard to find plants, but we have sourced some great young bushes, which will soon be gone. Order yours now, and in a short time you will be enjoying the unique beauty of the Weeping Yaupon Holly in your own garden.