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Ilex Vomitoria 'Schilling's Dwarf' Schilling's Dwarf Holly

Edward F. Gilman


The symmetrical, dense, rounded form of Schilling's dwarf holly requires infrequent pruning to maintain its 4- to 6-foot height and spread (Figure 1). Ideally suited as a low-growing foundation plant, Schilling's dwarf holly works well as a tall groundcover because it forms a low, dense cover of green foliage when planted in mass. It is often sheared into low hedges in formal gardens, similar to the boxwoods in the early American gardens. The small, dark green leaves have a reddish cast when they are young and no spines. This cultivar of a male plant will produce no berries.
Figure 1. Schilling's dwarf holly
Figure 1.  Schilling's dwarf holly


General Information

Scientific name: Ilex vomitoria 'Schilling's Dwarf'

Pronunciation: EYE-lecks vom-mit-TOR-ee-uh

Common name(s): Schillings dwarf holly

Family: Aquifoliaceae

Plant type: shrub

USDA hardiness zones: 7 through 10 (Figure 2)

Planting month for zone 7: year round

Planting month for zone 8: year round

Planting month for zone 9: year round

Planting month for zone 10: year round

Origin: native to Florida

Height: 4 to 7 feet

Uses: bonsai; foundation; mass planting; container or above-ground planter; superior hedge; espalier

Figure 2. Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 2.  Shaded area represents potential planting range.



Height: 4 to 7 feet
Spread: 6 to 10 feet
Plant habit: round
Plant density: dense
Growth rate: slow
Texture: fine


Leaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: serrate
Leaf shape: ovate
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not showy


Flower color: white
Flower characteristic: spring flowering


Fruit shape: no fruit
Fruit length: no fruit
Fruit cover: no fruit
Fruit color: no fruit
Fruit characteristic: no fruit

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not particularly showy; typically multi-trunked or clumping stems
Current year stem/twig color: gray/silver
Current year stem/twig thickness: thin


Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun
Soil tolerances: extended flooding; acidic; slightly alkaline; sand; loam; clay
Drought tolerance: high
Soil salt tolerances: moderate
Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches


Roots: sprouts from roots or lower trunk
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: long-term health

Use and Management

Growing well in sun or light shade in soils from dry to wet, Schilling's dwarf holly withstands drought when established and is highly salt-tolerant, making it ideally suited to seaside plantings. It is a selection of the native yaupon holly, which grows naturally without irrigation on the dunes along the Atlantic Ocean. Growth rate is slow to moderate. Plant four to five feet apart for mass planting. Be sure to set plants several feet back from a walk, driveway or lawn area, because plants grow wider than tall and often require pruning to control their lateral growth. If you need to prune in this manner, be sure to leave the bottom of the plant much wider than the top so that lower foliage is left on the plant. If you attempt to shear vertically, the lower branches will be shaded and often lose foliage. This will give the shrub an unsightly, dark, leafless bottom.

Propagation is by cuttings.

Pest and Diseases

No pests or diseases are of major concern.

Publication #FPS-275

Date: 8/5/2015

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  • Critical Issue: Agricultural and Food Systems
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About this Publication

This document is FPS-275, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticultlure Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Gail Hansen de Chapman