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Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)

Brighten your winter gardens and containers with winterberry. This deciduous holly produces an abundance of red berries you and the birds will enjoy.

This plant combines nicely with ornamental grasses, evergreens, and perennials to create an attractive winter garden.

The species grows 6 to 10 feet tall and is hardy in zones 3 to 9. Though it prefers moist organic and slightly acidic soil, it also tolerates wet and less than ideal soils.

Grow winterberry in full sun or partial shade. You’ll need at least one male for every 5 female plants for fruit to develop. Jim Dandy is a good pollinator for northern varieties, while Southern Gentleman is a popular pollinator for southern varieties.

Winter Red is a large variety with glossy leaves that produces an abundance of red berries. Berry Nice has brilliant red berries and Red Sprite produces lots of fruit on smaller plants.

A bit more information: You may also know this plant as Michigan holly (Ilex verticillata). Winter Gold is a cultivar prized for its yellow fruit. Christmas Cheer produces lots of red berries on smaller plants and Christmas Gem is great for cutting, though it is not as adaptable as many other varieties. As always, check to see if the cultivar you select is suited to your area.

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