University of Maryland Extension

Winterberry Holly

Text by Shelley McNeal. Photo by Ellen Nibali.

Ilex verticillata

Winterberry, our native wetland holly, makes a stunning specimen for the winter garden. Its autumn leaves turn yellow and fall to reveal a breathtaking view of thousands of brilliant red berries clinging to bare stems. What a joy to have such color in the middle of winter. Bird watchers appreciate seeing birds flock to the berries for a mid-winter feast. Winterberry reaches 6 to 10 feet with equal spread and is also available in dwarf varieties such as ‘Maryland Beauty’.  Plant in moist, acidic organic soil. Females set fruit best in full sun and require a male pollinator. Some female varieties must be matched with a particular male variety. 



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