En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - December 04, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Growing Dwarf Yaupon Holly in Texas
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

We planted 10 extra dwarf yaupons in our Austin front yard. They were identified as 'Gremici' dwarf yaupon. I googled them to get more information about them in order to determine why five have died. However, I cannot find any information about them. Can you help? Thank you!

ANSWER:

There are many great dwarf cultivars of yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) that make dense plants that are strong growers and can be used for hedging or used individually in the garden. Both male and female plants are needed to have good fruit production. The red berries are very vibrant in the winter landscape.
The leaves and twigs contain caffeine, and American Indians used them to prepare a tea, which they drank in large quantities ceremonially and then vomited back up, lending the plant its species name, vomitoria. The vomiting was self-induced or because of other ingredients added; it doesn’t actually cause vomiting. Tribes from the interior traveled to the coast in large numbers each spring to partake of this tonic, and it was also a common hospitality drink among many groups. It remained popular as such among southeastern Americans into the 20th century and is still occasionally consumed today, with a flavor resembling another holly drink, the South American yerba mate, from Ilex paraguariensis.

In looking for a match to your plants, I wasn’t able to find a cultivar called ‘Gremici’ and suspect that it is either a brand new name or is spelled differently. The University of Arkansas plant database for dwarf yaupon holly list recommended cultivars as ‘Compacta,’ ‘Helleri’, ‘Condeaux’ (Bordeaux), ‘Nana’,  and ‘Schillings (Stokes Dwarf)’.
Also a possibility is the dwarf yaupon cultivar ‘Grey’s Littleleaf’ which has extra small leaves and reddish-purple new growth.  The NC State University Cooperative Extension has a good article on dwarf yaupon hollies that describe these “working class plants” that perform with first-class results.

Anyway, yaupon holly is usually quite a tough plant so we would like to suggest that perhaps there is a soil or drainage issue that is causing your plants to die. While they are quite tolerant of drought and moist soil conditions, they do prefer sandy soils and may have trouble if grown in heavy, water-logged soils.   The US Department of Agriculture Forest Service and USDA have a good factsheets on the species that will have some tips for growing this plant. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

More Trees Questions

Dying Bigelow oaks in Austin
July 30, 2010 - I have several stands of Bigelow Oak (Q.sinuata var. breviloba) in NW Austin mixed with Yaupon and Cedar Elms. Several have died each year for the past 8 years. Two now have brown, dry leaves which is...
view the full question and answer

Tree for memorial in Levittown NY
August 09, 2010 - I am planning a tree planting memorial in Wantagh Park and I don't know what will be hardy enough to grow there. There are the constant breeze and salt water elements to deal with there and of course...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs and trees over septic tank in Killen AL
May 20, 2013 - Our church has 5year old blue rug juniper, a crape myrtle and two shrubs I can't identify planted over the septic tank which is surrounded with concrete and asphalt. I am afraid these will cause a pr...
view the full question and answer

Stopping erosion on bank of a Florida retention pond
July 21, 2015 - I live on a retention pond, which has had all vegetation killed by the lake doctor. As a result the bank has eroded so there is a drop off directly to the water rather than a sloping bank. What plan...
view the full question and answer

Controlling a shrub/tree with lots of thorns and flowers similar to beebrush, but lots of thorns
July 08, 2014 - I live in Horseshoe Bay, Llano County with 1.5 acres of natural habitat. There is a plant that I have always called Cat's Claw but in researching Cat's Claw, I may have misidentified it. It has a fl...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center