Holly Bushes: The Festive Evergreen

Do you want a plant to spice your yard up year round? Holly bushes might be what you’re looking for. You may have noticed some in your neighborhood; they are very striking in the winter.  Contrary to most people’s perception, the holly is not one species but several, and not all of their berries are red.   Species include:

American Holly:  This is the species most people identify with as a holly; it has  classic red berries paired with deep green foliage, and can grow to 30 feet tall.

Japanese Holly: These come in many shapes, but their berries are usually black and their leaves smaller than American varieties.

Chinese Holly: These bushes have similar leaves to the traditional species, but their berries can range in color from black to orange.

Possumhaw: If you’re more interested in the berry than the leaves, then this tree may be the right fit. They grow masses of berries, but little greenery.

This article has great information and beautiful pictures.  If you’ve thought about adding something to your landscape next spring that would provide more color and interest especially in the winter, hollies just might fill the bill.  But here’s an important thing to keep in mind, especially if you have small children:  despite their being a bird treat and the traditional association with kissing at Christmas, the holly berry is somewhat toxic and can cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested.