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The Winterberry Holly: Not Your Average Holly

A plant that is near and dear to our hearts here at Winterberry, the Winterberry Holly or Ilex verticillata, is truly a great landscape shrub for many reasons. Fall is the perfect time to really appreciate all of the great qualities that Winterberries can add when incorporated into the landscape.

Winterberry Hollies are different than most other Hollies in that they are a deciduous shrub, which means they lose their leaves for the winter. Don’t let this feature discourage you though, because you gain an enormous amount of interest from their brilliant red berries that persist once the leaves do fall from the branches. The bright red berries are typically what attract most to selecting this shrub. They provide bold and vibrant color to your landscape during the winter months, when there is very little interest coming from most everything else. The berries are also great to use for holiday arrangements and decorations.

Something that not everyone might realize, however, is that there are many different types of Winterberries, both male and female. Only the female Winterberries will produce berries and they need a male Winterberry nearby to do so. Certain varieties of Winterberries are considered male, while others are female. Also, there are specific pollinators per female variety. This means that the females need certain males planted nearby in order to get berries.

In addition to there being male and female Winterberries, there are different varieties, with their own unique characteristics. Some of the most popular male Winterberries include ‘Jim Dandy’ and ‘Late Male’. ‘Afterglow’ and ‘Red Sprite’ are common female Winterberries. ‘Sunsplash’ is a unique variety of Winterberry in that it has variegated leaves. Typically, Winterberry Hollies have all green leaves. ‘Sunsplash’ has yellow variegation to the leaves, which adds a lot of color and interest to the landscape. If red isn’t your favorite color, there are even some varieties now that produce orange berries. One of these is ‘Winter Gold’ which produces an unusual golden-orange or pinkish berry.

In the end, Winterberry Hollies are a great addition to your landscape for a number of reasons and since we are named after this particular shrub, it is one of our favorites here at Winterberry for sure.