En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

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 Shrubs Questions

Plants for pool privacy from Peachtree GA
March 20, 2012 - We currently reside in Georgia and have a pool surrounded by a fence. However, because our house is located on a hill, my neighbor on the left side can very easily still see my backyard and we can see...
view the full question and answer

Non-native eleagnus from Jesup GA
January 17, 2014 - An elderly farmer has told me about a plant called Alley Agnes, but I can't find any plant by this name anywhere. He doesn't know another name for it, says it's what everyone has always called it i...
view the full question and answer

Rust on Amelancier Foliage in PA
February 03, 2015 - I live in Pennsylvania and have been plagued with a rust on my serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) trees over the past few years. I am unable to find very much information on this disease on the we...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a windbreak on a slope in OH
April 20, 2011 - Have property at the top of a valley with a steep drop off. Would like to know native to NE Ohio ground covers, grasses perennials, and not too tall trees for windbreak that will prevent erosion. The ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Texas Mountain Laurel
November 12, 2009 - How much can I prune a 10 year old mountain laurel to re-shape it and when?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center