Winterberry Holly Ilex Verticillata 'Winter Red'
A cultivar of our native wetland holly, 'Winterberry Red' has abundant clusters of long lasting, bright red fruits and lustrous, thick, dark green leaves. The leaves fall off the shrub in autumn making the berry display all more showy in the winter landscape. It adapts to wide variety of site conditions. The compact, rounded or vase shaped form grows 6'-9' tall, 6'-8' spread. Plant about 4 feet apart for a hedge. 'Winter Red' is a female cultivar and requires a pollinator for fruit production. It is advisable to plant one male in close proximity (within 50 feet) for every 3-5 females. 'Southern Gentlemen' is the pollinator of choice for this southern type winterberry. 'Appolo' and 'Raritan Chief' are also male pollinators.Pricing Information
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Hardiness Zones 3 - 9The Winterberry Holly can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the arborday.org zone map. View Map
Type of treeShrubs
Mature HeightThe Winterberry Holly grows to be 6' - 9' feet in height.
Mature SpreadThe Winterberry Holly has a spread of about 6' - 8' at full maturity.
SunThis Winterberry Holly does well in full sun, partial shade.
acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, silty loam, well drained, wet, wide range, clay
ShapeThis Winterberry Holly has rounded shape.
'Winter Red' is a compact cultivar of our native wetland holly , the winterberry. It is known for its abundant fruits that keep their bright red color and remain on the branches into the middle of winter. The lustrous dark green leaves fall off the shrub in autumn making its berry display all the more showy in the winter landscape. It adapts to a wide range of site conditions including wet, light, and heavy soil, full sun or partial shade. It grows best in full sun, acidic, moist soil. Winterberry can be used for a showy accent shrub, planters, hedges, water edges, buffer or medium strips, and holiday decorations. Plant about 4 feet apart for a hedge. 'Winter Red' is a female cultivar and requires a pollinator for fruit production. It is advisable to plant one male in close proximity (within 50 feet) for every 3-5 females. ' Southern Gentlemen' is the pollinator of choice for this southern type winterberry.
'Winter Red' is a deciduous, female winterberry cultivar. It is a slow growing, multi-stemmed, suckering shrub with an erect, compact, round or vase shaped form. The thick, lustrous, dark green leaves fall off the branches in the fall exposing the intense red clusters of berries. Fall leaves may turn a bronze color. With this cultivar the 3/8" size fruits are profuse and ripen in August to September. They will persist on the tree into mid-winter. The fruit is bitter and astringent, so overwintering birds will leave this fruit until other food supplies have dwindled before eating it. This is a shade tolerant plant, but grows best in full sun. It occurs naturally in swampy and poorly drained areas and adapts to a wide range of soil conditions including heavy and wet. However, it is not drought tolerant and alkaline soil will cause chlorosis. 'Winter Red' requires a late blooming pollinizer for fruit production. One male should be planted within 50 feet of every 3-5 females for a maximum fruit production. Pruning for shape should be in early spring just before the new growth appears. Winterberry cuttings are often used in holiday decorations. The cut stems will keep for months if kept in a vase without water.
The red berries stay on the shrub from early fall through winter. Over 40 species of birds are known to eat winterberry fruit. The dense branches provide shelter and nesting sites for birds.
'Winter Red' winterberry holly was introduced by Simpson Nursery Company, Vincennes, IN. Winterberry is native to North America with a range from Nova Scotia to Ontario, west to Wisconsin, south to Florida and west to Missouri. 'Winter Red' is the most popular American selection for cutting.
well drained, moist, wet soil
Alternate, simple, elliptic (oval )or obovate to oblanceolate, serrate or double serrate, 1 ½"-3' long, lustrous dark green, may turn bronze in fall
female is inconspicuous, white
late spring, early summer
berry-like drupe, 3/8" across, bright red, often in pairs
Rate of growth refers to the vertical increase in growth unless specified differently. Rate, as is true for size, is influenced by numerous variables such as soil, drainage, water, fertility, light, exposure, ad infinitum. The designation slow means the plant grows 12” or less per year; medium refers to 13 to 24” of growth per year; and fast to 25” or greater.Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, by Michael Dirr.