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  • Writer's pictureBethany

Kenneth's Picks: Winterberry Holly

Updated: Feb 6

This week, our Garden Center Manager Kenneth chose to highlight the Winterberry Holly, also known as Ilex Verticillata. Ken reccomends them because they are low maintenance and make a nice border or hedge in pond areas, rain gardens, and recreational play areas. It is a food source for butterflies, pollinators, small mammals, songbirds, and specialized bees, so it will bring life into your garden!

Winterberry holly is a slow-growing tree or shrub in the holly family native to Eastern North America. It is a dioecious plant--meaning the shrubs are either male or female. Both male and female plants will flower, but only the females will produce berries if their flowers are fertilized.


Full sun, partial sun


Keep soil moist to wet




Deer Resistant, Erosion Control, Rabbit Resistant, Very Wet Areas, Tolerates Urban Pollution, Road Salt Tolerant, Benefits wildlife

Growth Rate/Size

Slow; Mature reaches 3 to 5 ft. tall and wide.

Flower Color


Foliage Color


Companion Plants

Lily of the Valley, Rhododendron, Magnolia, Hydrangea, Mountain Laurel (Kalmia)


Provide organically rich, acidic, moist, loamy soil; tolerates wet, heavy soils. Water deeply, regularly in first few growing seasons to establish root system; once established, water regularly to maintain evenly moist soil. Feed and prune annually to shape before new growth emerges in late winter to early spring.

*Info on chart source:

The common name refers to the plant’s red berries that mature in the fall, providing winter interest and food for birds and small mammals. Winterberry tolerates heat, drought, soil compaction, partial shade and full sun. It is resistant to deer foraging and salt.

This plants growing zones are 4-8.

Winter Red (Female)

Jim Dandy (Male)

Red Sprite (Female)

To ensure strong berry set, it prefers to have a male holly polinator within 50 feet of where female is planted.

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