Ilex 'Conaf' OAKLEAF
Common Name: holly 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Aquifoliaceae
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 12.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Evergreen
Attracts: Birds
Other: Winter Interest


Grow in organically rich, slightly acidic, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of a wide variety of soils ranging from moist to dry and from sand to clay. Also tolerant of heat and drought. Prefers evenly moist, organic loams. Site in locations protected from strong winter winds.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ilex is a genus of over 400 species of evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs and climbers from tropical, subtropical and temperate regions. Many are grown for their attractive, evergreen foliage.

Genus name comes from the Latin name Quercus ilex for holm oak in reference to the foliage similarities (holm oak and many of the shrubs in the genus Ilex have evergreen leaves).

'Conaf', commonly known by its trade name of OAK LEAF, is part of the Red Holly Series of hybrid holly cultivars, all of which are seedling selections from Ilex 'Mary Nell'. OAK LEAF shows conical growth when young, but matures in upright pyramidal form to 15-20' tall with a 12-15' spread. It is particularly noted for its upright pyramidal form, oak-shaped leaves with unusual leaf serrations, and attractive orange-red fruits. New growth emerges bronze to burgundy red (characteristic of all Red Holly Series cultivars), but matures to emerald green. Alternate, evergreen, ovate to lanceolate leaves (to 3 1/2" long) have serrate margins with 3-5 pairs of prominent spines. OAK LEAF is a female cultivar (plants are dioecious). Small, creamy yellow/white, slightly fragrant flowers bloom in clusters from the leaf axils in spring (March to May). Flowers, if pollinated, give way to a profuse crop of berries (3/8” diameter) which mature to orange-red in fall (November). U.S. Plant Patent PP9,487 was issued on March 26, 1996.


Potential insect problems include holly leaf miner, spider mites, whitefly and scale. Potential disease problems include leaf spot, leaf rot, tar spot and powdery mildew. Plants are also susceptible to leaf drop, leaf scorch and chlorosis (yellowing of leaves in high pH soils).


Borders, screens, hedges, foundations.