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Ilex verticillata x serrata

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
EYE-leks ver-ti-si-LAH-tuh x sair-AY-tuh
Description

Winterberry is a native deciduous shrub and requires a male and female plant for pollination.  It prefers moist, acidic, organically rich soils and tolerates wet sites. It is adaptable to other soils as long as they are acidic and moist. Winterberry spreads by suckers and can form colonies.

When purchasing a female plant be sure to purchase the male variety that blooms at the same time. One male plant will pollinate up to 3-5 female shrubs. Be sure to place the female plants where the red berries can be seen and enjoyed for year-round interest. 

Use this plant along streams or ponds, in rain gardens, as a hedge or a naturalized area. 

Problems: chlorosis on high pH soils, leaf spot and powdery mildew, but they are rarely disfiguring

 

VIDEO Created by Elizabeth Meyer for "Trees, Shrubs and Conifers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Apollo'
    Male plant
  • 'Harvest Red'
    Female shrub
  • 'Raritan Chief'
    Male pollinator
  • 'Sparkleberry'
    Female shrub
'Apollo', 'Harvest Red', 'Raritan Chief', 'Sparkleberry'
Tags:
#bees#deciduous#wildlife plant#nectar plant#winter interest#riparian#facultative#wetlands#wet sites#specialized bees#deer resistant#pollinator plant#winter fruits#wet soils tolerant#bird friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Apollo'
    Male plant
  • 'Harvest Red'
    Female shrub
  • 'Raritan Chief'
    Male pollinator
  • 'Sparkleberry'
    Female shrub
'Apollo', 'Harvest Red', 'Raritan Chief', 'Sparkleberry'
Tags:
#bees#deciduous#wildlife plant#nectar plant#winter interest#riparian#facultative#wetlands#wet sites#specialized bees#deer resistant#pollinator plant#winter fruits#wet soils tolerant#bird friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ilex
    Species:
    verticillata
    Family:
    Aquifoliaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    United States and Canada
    Wildlife Value:
    Fruits are attractive to birds. Flowers attract bees. Members of the genus Ilex support the following specialized bee: Colletes banksi.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    deer damage
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Mounding
    Multi-stemmed
    Open
    Oval
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Showy bright red berry-like drupe on female plants that persists into winter
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    White
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Small, creamy-white flowers on male and female plants. Male plants bloom in clusters, female plants solitary or groups of 2-3 in early to mid-June. Female blooms have a distinct green miniature "knob" in the center while male blooms have anthers.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Leaf Margin:
    Doubly Serrate
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, simple, dark green leaves; 1.5-3 inches long and .75 to 1.25 inches wide. Margins are serrated to doubly serrated and base and tip are acute. Undersides have hairs. Light yellow fall color
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Bark Description:
    The bark is dark gray to brown, generally smooth with some lenticels
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Purple-brown young stems grow gray with age. Stems glabrous with dark black points on the twig surface on each side of the leaf scar
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Water Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Pollution
    Wet Soil