Growing Guide Ilex verticillata (Winterberry Holly)
Growing Ilex verticillata (Winterberry Holly)
Winterberry Hollies are deciduous plants. Leaves are mid-green and quite unlike the prickly, shiny leaves of evergreen Hollies. In the fall, the leaves turn yellow, then drop to reveal dense clusters of bright red, berry-like fruits on the female plants. Berries often persist well into winter, and are especially striking against the snow.
CULTURE: Winterberry Holly grows in full sun, partial shade, and even quite dense shade (at some cost to flower and berry production). In the wild, it is found in wet soil, but it also grows well in average soil and tolerates a fair measure of drought once established. It does insist on acid soil. Not a good choice in the desert Southwest.
Only the female plants, 'Winter Red' or 'Red Sprite', produce berries. Give the females a prominent spot and tuck the male plant (which is necessary for pollination) in a less obvious one. A male plant can be up to 40ft from the female without reducing fruit set.
PRUNING: Prune in late winter or after bloom; be aware that pruning reduces fruit production.