Dahoon Holly Tree (Ilex Cassine): Florida Care Guide

Dahoon Holly Trees are native to Florida and many other areas of the Southern United States.

Despite the warm weather, these trees can thrive in the State as they like hotter climates and are currently being reintroduced to Hawaii.

Dahoon Holly grows well in Florida’s coastal areas and can cope with salty winds and sandy and moist soils. Let’s look at how to grow and care for a dahoon holly tree in Florida. We’ll discuss which varieties are native to FL and which grow best in the Florida climate. 

Dahoon Holly Quick Facts

Dahoon Holly plant facts
  • Scientific Name: Ilex Cassine
  • Family: Aquifoliaceae
  • Height: 20 to 30 feet. Max ≈ 40 ft.
  • Spread: Roughly 8-12 ft.
  • Quick Description: The Dahoon Holly is a small tree, with a single trunk.
  • Gender: There are male and female plants. You need both genders to get berries.
  • When do Berries Form: Fall -winter.
  • Hardiness: 7a-11 (full USDA hardiness map), which means this holly species will grow from the panhandle through north of Miami.
  • Florida Native: Yes.
Florida Dahoon Holly Facts

Dahoon Holly tree Florida

Dahoon Holly Tree Florida

Dahoon holly trees have the botanical name Ilex cassine and are part of the Aquifoliaceae family. The trees grow well in Florida and is an evergreen tree that looks great year-round. 

These trees grow relatively large and can reach heights of about 30 feet with a 10 to 15 feet spread. Therefore you’ll need to ensure you have enough space in your yard before planting a young seedling. 

Like all varieties of holly, the Dahoon holly tree produces lovely red berries in the fall as long as you grow a male and female tree as a pair. The leaves are glossy and green, providing a stunning contrast. Cuttings can be taken from the tree to create holiday decorations. The berries also provide food for wildlife and will help attract birds to your yard.

Dahoon holly trees have a moderate growth rate and help create much needed shadeed areas in a Florida yard. They can be grown successfully in USDA zones 7 to 11. 

How to care for a Dahoon holly tree in Florida

Dahoon Holly Tree Florida

Dahoon Hollies prefer a moist, fertile soil as they are often found growing naturally in swamps or bogs. They can be planted in areas of the yard that are waterlogged and where other plants will struggle. That being said, they can also thrive when soils become drier, and overwatering can cause root rot. 

Dahoon holly can either be grown from seed, or you can buy a small sapling. When planting young trees, ensure you dig a hole that’s at least as deep as the container it’s growing in and two or three times as wide. This will give you enough space to plant the tree and backfill with soil and compost. After planting, give your tree a good watering and continue to water deeply for the first year after planting. 

Here are some care tips for a Dahoon holly tree in Florida:


It’s best to water your holly trees deeply and regularly, especially during the hot Florida summers. These varieties of trees need enough water to grow well. Although they can cope with dry conditions, the trees will likely remain smaller if they don’t get enough water. 

It’s essential to water your tree well in the first year after planting. Established dahoon holly trees will cope with less water. 

Sunlight requirements

Dahoon holly trees grow best in full sun to partial shade. They require at least 6 hours of sunlight daily, more throughout the growing season. 


These trees grow well in a variety of soils; they can cope with sandy soils, which makes them perfect for coastal areas. Dahoon holly trees also grow well in loamy or clay-like soils with a pH range of between 5.5 and 7.0, which is neutral to slightly acidic. 


To keep your Dahoon Holly Tree healthy, it’s important to fertilize your trees annually in early spring. You can also give your tree some natural fertilizer when planting. Aged compost or manure can be added to the hole before planting your tree. 


Pruning should be done in late winter or early spring, and it should be done sparingly as Dahoon Hollies tend to have a natural, attractive shape. 


 Dahoon Hollies are native to Florida, and they grow well in the state. Care for these trees should include watering deeply at least once a week, fertilizing annually, and pruning occasionally to help maintain the tree’s size and shape. With proper care, the Dahoon Holly tree will be a beautiful addition to any landscape in Florida, and the leaves can be used to make holiday decorations.