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
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
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
X 'Harvest Red' - Heavy production of red fruit.
'Jim Dandy' - A male often used as a pollinator for
'Afterglow', 'Aurantiaca', 'Cacapon', 'Red Sprite',
'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,
'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
Bright red, summer berries on female plants often persist long after dark green summer foliage has fallen.
Cultivars of ILEX
`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.
Search Virginia Tech Extension Serv., Information Resources, for your topic.
3. Source: HOME & GARDEN INFORMATION CENTER , HGIC
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
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
'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.