What Is a Weeping Yaupon?

Angie Bates

A weeping yaupon is a type of holly with thin, down-turned branches. This tree is usually desired for its unique appearance and the bright red winter berries it produces. Easy to care for, weeping yaupons usually function as specimen trees or focal points for home gardens or urban landscaping or as natural screens. The scientific name for the weeping yaupon is Ilex vomitoria 'pendula'. "Pendula" is the name of the specific cultivar of the Ilex vomitoria plant.

The weeping yaupon can be grown in sand.
The weeping yaupon can be grown in sand.

Native to North America, the weeping yaupon is popularly used in landscaping for specimen trees, borders, and focal points. Classified as both a tree and a shrub, these plants normally have multiple trunks and many thin, bendy branches with thin, oval evergreen leaves, approximately 2 inches (5 cm) long. Trees can reach a maximum height of 30 feet (9.1 m), but usually only grow to 15 ft (4.6 m) or less. Their spreads average 6–12 feet (1.8–3.6 m), but older trees can have spreads as wide as 25 feet (7.6 m).

In late spring, nonshowy white flowers bloom on the weeping yaupon's branches. By winter, vibrant red berries have formed. Berries are small, usually less than 0.5 inches (1.27 cm) in diameter and generally stay on the tree for their lifespan, so do not create a lot of ground litter. They also attract both birds and mammals. The flowers may attract bees.

The weeping yaupon is a relatively low maintenance tree. During the first year of its planting, regular watering is recommended to help it establish strong roots, but in subsequent years, watering is only necessary in very dry periods. The plant is drought tolerant. The tree can be fertilized each spring to help encourage growth, but fertilization is not a strict requirement.

Likewise, the weeping yaupon can be pruned or sheered to give it a neater shape or to allow easier clearance under the branches, but little to no pruning is necessary to maintain a healthy tree. If the yaupon is planted near a walkway, driveway, or road, it should be pruned to allow easy passage of people or vehicles under its branches, however. The plants' bark is very thin and easily damaged by impact.

Extremely adaptable, the weeping yaupon can grow in a wide variety of soils, such as sand, clay, and loam. It also can tolerate both acidic and alkaline soils. Salt from nearby bodies of salt water does not bother this plant either.

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