If you want the holly look but already know that with your soil pH it is a waste of time and money to try planting them in your landscape, don't give up all hope. Mohonia fremontii, Fremont barberry, is a drought-tolerant native plant that has bright yellow flowers followed by red berries.
Fremont barberry will grow up to 8 feet tall. Its holly-like foliage is a waxy gray-green. The fruit is relished by rodents and birds. It grows naturally in southern and eastern Utah and is available from nurseries that specialize in native plants.
Oregon grape and creeping Oregon grape also have a holly-like leaf, but all these plants have blue rather than red berries. These are commonly sold in local nurseries and grow well in partial shade. They can develop beautiful reddish foliage in the winter.
Dispelling the myth of growing holly in Utah is difficult but not impossible. Select the kinds that will tolerate your soil and pay attention to their other growing needs to ensure success in your garden.
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