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Winterberry, 'Ilex verticillata'

1.  Source:  Michigan State University Extension Service, Ilex verticillata--Michigan Holly, Winterberry
Ornamental Plants plus Version 2.0 - 00000765, 01/01/98

Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
Height: 8 ft Spread: 8 ft Form: rounded
Type: deciduous shrub
Annual Growth Rate: less than 12 inches
Fruits: Red, yellow

Comments: Winterberry's bright red berries provide color in early winter after the leaves have fallen off. The plant grows in sun or partial shade and a rich, well-drained soil, although it tolerates swampy areas. Winterberry is dioecious, so both male and female plants
are needed for fruit production. The fruits are often eaten by birds.

Cultivars: Some of the cultivars are hybrids between I. verticillata and I. serrata. Eggerss and Hasselkus suggest that there are both northern and southern types of I. verticillata. Northern types are smaller and more compact than the open and leggy southern types. Select northern types for northern areas.

'Afterglow' - A 3- to 6-foot tall female cultivar with
orange-red fruit.
X 'Apollo' - A large plant, to 10 feet, male, used as a
pollinator for 'Bonfire' and 'Sparkleberry'.
'Aurantiaca' - A female with red fruits that change to
golden orange. A 4-foot, compact form.
X 'Bonfire' - A large, vigorous shrub with small red
fruit in clusters.
'Bright Horizon' - Vigorous and upright, large red
berries are produced in tight clusters.
'Cacapon' - Red fruit and dark green foliage, more
upright than 'Afterglow'. 'Jim Dandy' is a suitable
'Early Male' - A male used to pollinate 'Afterglow' and
'Red Sprite'.
X 'Harvest Red' - Heavy production of red fruit.
'Jim Dandy' - A male often used as a pollinator for
'Afterglow', 'Aurantiaca', 'Cacapon', 'Red Sprite',
and 'Shaver'.
'Late Male' - A male selection used to pollinate
'Winter Red'. Probably a southern type.
'Oosterwijk' - Bright red berries persist longer than
those of other cultivars. 'Jim Dandy' is a suitable
'Raritan Chief' - A male selection with a low, dense,
spreading habit.
'Red Sprite' ('Compacta', 'Nana') - Multi-stemmed
shrub, compact with large red fruit.
'Select' - A female that produces heavy crops of
'Shaver' - An upright form with large red fruit.
'Southern Gentleman' - A male pollinator for 'Winter
Red' and 'Select'.
X 'Sparkleberry' - A female that may reach 12 feet with
good fruit production.
'Spriber' (Berry Nice TM) - Excellent production of red
fruits. Use 'Southern Gentleman' as a pollinator.
'Sunset' - A female with large red fruits. Performed
poorly in Wisconsin for Eggerss and Hasselkus.
'Winter Gold' - Yellow fruits.
'Winter Red' - Grows to 7 feet with brilliant red
fruit. Plants grown in Wisconsin had a tall, leggy
habit and were inferior to other cultivars.

References for Cultivars: Spring Meadow Nursery 1997,
Sipmson Nursery Company 1986, Princeton Nurseries 1997,
Weston Nurseries 1994, Lake County Nursery 1997, Weston
Nurseries 1997 Bailey Nurseries 1997, Ray Wiegand's
Nursery 1997, White Flower Farm 1997, Wayside Gardens
1997, Studebaker Nurseries 1998. Eggerss, M.L. and E. R.
Hasselkus. 1992, Winterberries, American Nurseryman

Source:  Michigan State University Extension Service

2.  Contact: Diane Relf, Extension Specialist, Environmental Horticulture, Virginia Technical Extension Service

This material was developed by Carol Ness as part of the Interactive Design and Development Project funded by the Kellogg Foundation. Mary Miller, Project Director. Diane Relf, Content Specialist, Horticulture. Copyright 1989 by VCE.  August 1996

Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf
Height: 3 to 10 feet
Spread: 3 to 10 feet
Shape: Bushy

Bright red, summer berries on female plants often persist long after dark green summer foliage has fallen.

Plant Needs:
Zone: 4 to 8
Light: Partial shade to full sun
Moisture: Wet to moist
Soil Type: Sandy, loam, or clay
pH Range: 3.5 to 6.0
Suggested uses for this plant include border, screen, massing, and attracting wildlife.
Planting Notes:
Transplant trees with balled and burlapped roots or as container-grown plants.
Plant one male plant to each six to eight female plants to ensure fruit.
Tolerates wide range of soil types, but prefers moist, acid soils.
Requires little maintenance.
Responds well to pruning. For increased fruiting, prune in early spring to increase branching.
Develops iron chlorosis in high pH soils.
Susceptible to leaf spots and powdery mildew.
Consult local sources, including historic or public gardens and arboreta, regarding cultivars and related species that grow well in your area.

`Cacapon', `Fairfax', and `Shava' are reported to have good fruit and excellent winter hardiness.
`Autumn Glow' has red fruit and orange and yellow fall color.
`Nana' is a compact (3 to 4 feet high) and beautiful plant, easily rooted from cuttings.

Only female plants produce berries, but plants of both sexes need to be present to ensure fruiting.
Red fruits will persist into January if not consumed by bird population.
Many cultivars exist with superior fruit.
Additional Materials:
The PRUNING SERIES videotape can be ordered through your local Extension office.
The following Extension publications are available through your local Extension office or directly from: Virginia Tech Extension Distribution Center 112 Landsdowne St. Blacksburg, VA 24061
#426-500 "Winter Injury to Trees and Shrubs"
#426-606 "Selecting Landscape Plants - Deciduous Shrubs"

Search Virginia Tech Extension Serv., Information Resources, for your topic.

Prepared by Marjan Kluepfel, HGIC Information Specialist, and Bob Polomski, Extension
Consumer Horticulturist, Clemson University.

The Holly (Ilex) genus consists of more than 400 species. Hollies offer a diverse range of plant characteristics. They can be deciduous or evergreen and vary from small (18 inches) to very large (over 50 feet).

Smaller hollies are attractive as foundation plantings or low hedges.
Larger evergreen hollies make attractive, impenetrable tall hedges or

Most hollies require well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter and  slightly acid. All appreciate mulch to deter weeds and keep the soil moist
and cool.

Hollies will grow in sun or part shade, but for the best berry  production and most compact growth choose a sunny spot.

Some hollies are  self-fertilizing, but others are exclusively female and need a male plant  nearby for pollination. Check with your nursery owner about whether the   hollies you are buying need both male and female plants to set fruit.

Containerized plants can be set out at any time, but early fall is best.

Poor fruiting on hollies is a problem experienced by many gardeners. This  could be due to poor pollination; young, immature plants; high nitrogen
levels in the soil; or a late spring frost which injured the flowers.
Common pests on hollies are scale, bud moth, red mites and leafminers.
Root rot diseases are a problem with several Japanese cultivars.

The Japanese hollies (Ilex crenata): are evergreen shrubs with relatively  small, spineless leaves and black fruit.

They are usually 3 to 10 feet  high, with a similar spread and look more like a boxwood than a holly. They range from slow-growing to relatively fast-growing, and are a good  choice for hedges.  Japanese hollies tolerate severe pruning.

Many cultivars are available. Some of them are:
'Helleri' is a compact form, which reaches 4 feet at maturity.
'Convexa' has dark-green leaves, is a heavy fruit producer and may reach 9 feet tall and 24 feet wide.
'Hetzi' is a dwarf form of ‘Convexa’ and grows 2 to 3 feet in height.
'Roundleaf' is a male selection that does not produce berries. Plants grow 5 to 10 feet tall and 5 to 12 feet wide.

The Chinese hollies (Ilex cornuta): produce large, spiny leaves that are  very glossy and dark green in color. Most Chinese hollies grow quite
large, 10 to 15 feet.

They are one of the few hollies that produce berries  without pollination.

'Burfordi'’ or Burford holly grows to 20 feet tall and wide. The heavy fruit set attracts  many birds.
'Rotunda or Dwarf Chinese holly grows only to 3 to 4 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. Plants usually do not produce berries.
'Berries Jubilee' is a dome-shaped plant, 6 to 10 feet tall, with large leaves and a heavy crop of large, bright red berries.

American Holly (Ilex opaca): is the traditional Christmas holly with  large, spiny green leaves and bright red berries. American hollies grow
into trees to 50 feet tall. Many cultivars exist. Among the best known are:

'Dan Fenton' has large, glossy leaves.
'Jersey Delight' and 'Jersey Princess'; 'Jersey Knight' is the male pollen source.
'Merry Christmas' with glossy, deep green leaves and red berries.
'Stewart's Silver Crown' with leaves edged in cream and marbled with
gray green.
'Yellow Berry' with bright yellow berries.

English holly (Ilex aquifolium): is an evergreen tree with very spiny, glossy foliage and bright red berries. Cultivars with white variegated
leaf margins are very distinctive. English hollies dislike poor drainage and low temperatures. Their growth rate is quite slow.

Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria): is native from Long Island, New York to central Florida and west to Texas.

In South Carolina it grows into a small evergreen tree, 3 to 15 feet tall and 3 to 10 feet wide. Female plants produce small red berries in large clusters. New growth has a purplish tinge, which turns dark green. Yaupon Holly tolerates wind and hot climates better than most evergreen hollies.

Some cultivars are:
'Nana' or 'Dwarf Yaupon Holly,' a small, moundlike shrub, 3 to 5 feet high and very broad;

'Pendula', a weeping type, reaching 15 to 20 feet with beautiful fruit.

Possumhaw or Ilex decidua: is a deciduous small tree, 6 to 10 feet tall, with dark green, 3-inch leaves and orange to red berries, which last into
winter or spring.

Inkberry or Ilex glabra: is an evergreen shrub, to 10 feet tall, with thick, spineless leaves and black berries. The dwarf form 'Compacta' grows to 4 feet, but can be sheared to make a 2-foot hedge.

Lusterleaf Holly or Ilex latifolia: is a slow-growing evergreen tree, to 30 feet tall. Leaves are 6 to 8 inches long (largest of all hollies).

Meserve Holly or Ilex meserveae: is a 6- to 7- foot, evergreen shrub that is very cold hardy.

Winterberry or Ilex verticillata: is a deciduous shrub, which unlike most hollies thrives in boggy soils.

Plants grow 6 to 10 feet tall and female plants bear enormous crops of bright red berries that last all winter.

'Nellie R. Stevens' holly: is a cross between English and Chinese holly. This fast-growing cultivar has excellent dark green foliage and large, red
berries and makes an excellent specimen tree.

Source:  Clemson University Extension Serv.