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Ilex verticillata

Winterberry

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Winterberry is a deciduous holly that is slow growing, with an upright-rounded habit. In the wild, it often suckers to form large thickets or colonies but can be pruned to form a small tree. Inconspicuous greenish-white flowers appear in late spring and give way to a crop of bright red berries in late summer to fall. Berries are quite showy and persist through most of the winter, hence the common name.

Benefits

Excellent year round interest, highlighted by showy red berries in winter
Nectar is especially attractive to small native bees
Cedar waxwings, bluebirds and robins savor the bright red berries that hold well into winter
Gorgeous in winter floral arrangements
Good nesting site for a variety of birds
Tolerates a wide range of conditions including wet soils

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Easy to grow in average, acidic, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Adapts to both light and heavy soils, but prefers moist, acidic, organic loams. Tolerates poorly drained soils including wet, boggy or swampy conditions. Plant in masses to assure berry set. Prune to shape in early spring just before new growth appears.


Height
8-10 Feet

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Spread
8-10 Feet

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-9

Native Range

Wet woods, swamps and thickets; Newfoundland and Quebec through Ontario to Michigan and Minnesota south to Indiana, Missouri and Florida.

Native Trivia

You get to enjoy these stunning red berries most of the winter because winterberry is one of the foods birds wait to eat until many frosts have softened the fruit.


"Birds live in this plant in the summer but they really like it for its reliable winter crop of red berries."

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
Medium to Tall Shrubs
Exposure
Filtered Shade
Sun
Soil
Acidic
Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
Average
Wet
Attracts Wildlife
Beneficial insects
Songbirds
Bloom Time
Late Summer
Habitat Collection
Songbird
Wet Sun
Foliage Color
Light Green
Uses
Bog, water garden
Native to
Alabama
Arkansas
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
Ohio
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin