Ilex decidua 'Warren's Red'
Common Name: possumhaw
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Aquifoliaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 6.00 to 14.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 12.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Rain Garden
Flower: Insignificant
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Clay Soil, Air Pollution


Easily grown in average, medium moisture soil in full sun to part shade. Adaptable to both light and heavy soils, but prefers moist, acidic, organic soils. Some tolerance for wet conditions. Possum haws are dioecious (separate male and female plants). This cultivar is a female plant and needs a male pollinator (e.g., male Ilex decidua or Ilex opaca 'Jersey Knight') for fruit production. One male plant will generally be sufficient for pollinating 9-10 female plants. Prune to shape in early spring just before new growth begins.

Noteworthy Characteristics

This deciduous possum haw cultivar is an upright, rounded shrub which typically grows 6-14' high (less frequently to 20'). Obovate, narrow, glossy dark green leaves turn yellow in autumn and persist later than most other possum haws. The whitish flowers are relatively inconspicuous. Pollinated female plants produce numerous, dense clusters of orange-red berries which ripen in September and persist throughout the winter until mid-March when new growth begins. Attractive silvery bark.


No serious disease or insect problems. Occasional problems include leaf spots and powdery mildew.

Garden Uses

Effective as a specimen, in groups or as a hedge. Can be grown in low spots or along ponds with somewhat wet soil conditions. Red berries provide excellent color to the winter landscape and are a source of food for animals and birds.