Why plant Audubon® Native Possumhaw Holly?
Create a bird habitat paradise with a pretty grove of Possumhaws! This nifty native shrub (or multi-stemmed tree) makes a thicket of twiggy stems that songbirds love to nest in or just take refuge in when pursued by predators. As a bonus, female plants will produce a generous crop of showy red berries for avian snacking. The fruits are rather bitter, so birds tend to leave them alone throughout most of the winter, but eventually the time comes when they are grateful for the nourishment. Robins and other thrushes, bluebirds, mockingbirds, Cedar Waxwings, flickers, and White-throated Sparrows may come to dine then.
Though it doesn’t look much like the Holly branches you see on Christmas cards, Possumhaw is in fact a species of Holly. This Holly is different from most because it is deciduous. When cold weather arrives, its leaves turn gold and then drop, putting the abundant scarlet-red berries on full display. Even without leaves, a few cut branches make for a wonderful tabletop decoration indoors. Possumhaw is native to the southeastern United States, where it is most often found in swampy areas. Its natural range reaches from Texas to Florida and north to Missouri and Virginia.
How to use Audubon® Native Possumhaw Holly in the landscape?
Only female Possumhaws bear fruit, but both male and female plants offer something to wildlife—flowers! The tiny white blossoms in late spring or early summer attract loads of happy honeybees and many native pollinators as well. Possumhaw leaves also host several caterpillar species that songbirds feed on.
Hardiness Zone: 5-8
How To Plant Audubon® Native Possumhaw Holly
Possumhaw is terrific for a low, wet part of your landscape that may experience seasonal flooding. It doesn’t have to grow in wet soil, however. Average conditions will do. Choose a spot in full sun if possible, or light shade. Possumhaw, like all Hollies, is dioecious, which means that each plant is either male or female. Only females will make fruit and only if a male plant is nearby to pollinate it. Any male Holly will do the trick as long as it blooms at the same time. American Holly is one other Holly species that will pollinate Possumhaw.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.