Like most Hollies, Ilex verticillata has separate male and female plants. While only female plants can produce berries, male plants are necessary to provide pollen for their flowers. Gardeners usually give female plants a prominent spot and tuck the male plants in an out-of-the-way corner. ‘Jim Dandy’ blooms early and serves as a male pollinator for several female varieties of Winterberry, including ‘Afterglow’ and ‘Red Sprite’. In fall, its deep green leaves turn yellowish green to purplish bronze.
The genus Ilex includes some 350 species, best known for its spiny, evergreen forms with red berries. It's much harder to find selections of our deciduous, native species, I. verticillata. In the wild, it is often found in wet soil, but it also grows well in average soil and tolerates a fair measure of drought once established. For more information on Ilex care, click on "Growing Guide & Tips".