Heartwood Hollies


Hollies are one of the most unique, diverse groups of plants in nature. From a single focal point specimen to a formal hedge row or an informal mass planting, there are hollies for every garden or landscape. While most species are evergreen and retain their leaves year round, there are deciduous hollies that lose their leaves in the fall, leaving brightly colored drupes (berries) on bare stems for us to enjoy during the holidays. All hollies provide food and shelter for dozens of species of birds, particularly our native hollies, Ilex glabra, Ilex opaca and Ilex verticillata. There are many outstanding selections of native hollies. Selections are not cultivars which are varieties genetically modified by horticulturists. Selections are the ‘straight species’, therefore their progeny from seed are the straight species.

Heartwood Nursery, Inc.

Heartwood Nursery has registered and introduced the following selections: Ilex verticillata ‘Mary Jo’, Ilex opaca ‘Liberty Belle’, Ilex opaca ‘Uncle Sam’, Ilex opaca ‘Sundown’, and Ilex opaca ‘Forest Totem’

The above named hollies are selections from naturally occurring populations. They were selected for outstanding characteristics such as growth habit, berry set and color, leaf shape, and consistent performance over many years. We specialize in holly cutting and seed propagation, woody propagation and native woody propagation. The term ‘woody’ refers to trees and shrubs. A significant percentage (85%+) of our inventory is propagated on site using local seed and cutting sources.

Heartwood Nursery, Inc.

We are proud to be a designated Holly Society of America Arboretum and Test Center. For further information and a list of participating Arboreta, click on hollysocam.org/arboreta

“We are excited to have Ilex opaca ‘Sundown’ as one of our Test Hollies for 2021. This red-fruited American holly was selected by Sue Hunter of Heartwood Nursery in York County, Pennsylvania and registered with the Holly Society in 2019. ‘Sundown’ was selected for its dense branching habit, dark foliage color, and consistently heavy set of larger-than-average fruit.”

- Jim Resch, Chairperson Test Holly Program and Research Committees, Holly Society of America.

Heartwood Nursery, Inc.

As new growth on Hollies pushes in the springtime, the inner leaves turn yellow and shed. This is their natural process, the opposite of deciduous trees that shed their leaves in the fall and winter.

Holly and Yellow leaves 

Male pollen bearing Winterberry

Male flowers