Valued for its heavy fruit set and persistence, Ilex verticillata 'Winter Red' is widely regarded as one of the best winterberries. Slow-growing, this multi-stemmed, deciduous winterberry holly enjoys a shapely oval form and produces abundant small greenish-white flowers in late spring or early summer. They are followed by a profusion of magnificent cherry red berries from fall throughout winter. Extremely attractive, they enliven the winter landscape and often persist into early spring unless eaten by birds. The foliage of lustrous, leathery, dark green leaves does not develop any appreciable fall color. 'Winter Red' is a female plant and needs a male pollinator to produce the attractive bright red berries. Generally, one male winterberry will be sufficient for pollinating 9-10 female plants. Since the blooms come late, 'Winter Red' requires a late-blooming male as a pollinator (such as 'Southern Gentleman' or 'Apollo').
- Grows with an upright-rounded habit up to 6-8 ft. tall and wide (180-240 cm).
- Winner of the Gold Medal Award of The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
- A full sun to part shade lover, this plant is easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained, acidic soils. Tolerates poorly drained soils as well as wet boggy conditions. Does poorly in neutral to alkaline soils and often dies. The most prolific fruit displays generally occurs in full sun to light shade. While it can grow in shady conditions, winterberry produces few fruit and is less attractive, becoming a loose and scraggly shrub.
- Generally pest and disease free
- Mass in mixed shrub borders. Perfect as specimen plant, hedges or for foundation plantings. Excellent shrub for wet soils and along streams or ponds. The red fruited-branches make lovely home decorations
- Flowers appear on new growth. Prune to shape in early spring just before new growth appears
- Native to Eastern North America