Winterberry Holly

Ilex verticillata

2 Reviews

Winterberry Holly

Ilex verticillata

2 Reviews

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.


How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


The Winterberry is a great plant for winter color, with its bright red berries carried on bare branches throughout the coldest months. It grows into a shrub 6 to 7 feet tall and is easily grown in any kind of soil, but it does best in moist areas and can even be grown along the banks of a stream or on the edge of a pond. In summer it has small, dark-green leaves and makes an attractive background plant, but it is when the leaves fall and the brilliant berries are seen that this plant comes into its own. It is hardy down to minus 40 degrees, so it can be grown in the coldest regions, yet it will also grow in warm areas just as easily.

  • Bright display of red berries in winter
  • Easily grown in any soil, including damp soils
  • Grows in full sun or partial shade
  • Great way to brighten your garden during the darkest months
  • Trouble-free for low-maintenance gardening

Plant the Winterberry in full-sun or partial shade anywhere in your garden. This is a great shrub for low-maintenance gardening, since it is easy to grow, is free of pests and diseases and needs no pruning or special care to become a favorite in your winter garden. Plant it with other plants that look great in winter and extend your gardening pleasure through all the seasons.

Plant Hardiness Zones 3-9
Mature Width 6
Mature Height 6-7
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
Zones 3-9

Winter can be a dark and gloomy season, especially in the coldest states, with little to see in the garden. We tend to plant trees and shrubs that will flower and be interesting in spring and summer, without thinking of that forgotten winter season where the smallest sign of life can be a joy. There are a number of plants with brightly colored winter twigs, such as the Red Twig Dogwood or the Yellow Twig Dogwood, but berries provide the most reliable way to have winter color from late fall almost to spring.

The bright red berries of evergreens like the Red Holly are well-known and it comes as a surprise to many people to learn that there is also a holly that loses its leaves in winter, so that the red berries are much showier and brilliant against the bare twigs. The bare branches of the Winterberry are smothered in bright red berries all winter long. It makes a brilliant display against snow as well as against the green background of warmer areas. It makes a rounded shrub five to eight feet tall, and about five feet wide, with dark-green leaves all summer. It grows at a moderate rate and soon becomes a strong feature in your garden and is a great choice for background planting in groups or running along a path or fence.

Growing Winterberry Holly Trees

The Winterberry will grow happily in any normal garden soil that is not too dry, but it grows even better in those damp places that defeat most other garden plants. If you have a pond or stream, or low-lying areas that hold water, then this bush will thrive in those locations. Since these conditions also suit the Red Twig Dogwood and the Yellow Twig Dogwood too, you can create an attractive winter landscape along your stream or around that pond, making a seasonal highlight in your garden. Since this is a native plant it can also be used in wild and semi-wild gardens where it will fit right into the natural landscape. It has no significant pests or diseases, so it will grow well with very little attention from you.

The Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) is an American native plant that grows naturally throughout the east from Newfoundland, Canada all the way south to Alabama. In the wild it is usually found in wetlands, marshes and alongside streams and rivers, but in gardens it will grow in any normal soil. It is a deciduous relative of the evergreen holly trees that are so valuable as hedges and foundation plantings in almost every garden.


It has glossy, dark-green leaves up to four inches long, with small teeth along the edges. It naturally forms a dense shrub with many slender branches. In summer, tiny white flowers are produced which will hardly be noticed, but by fall these will have developed into red berries which look exactly like the familiar holly-berries of the Christmas season. Winterberry branches can be cut and used for festive decoration inside or outside your home.

Planting Location

Because it is hardy in even the coldest zones of the country, this plant is especially useful in those areas, where other garden plants will not survive. Since it also grows well in all the warmer regions too, this is a plant that everyone can grow and enjoy. When planting your Berry Heavy Winterberry, choose a sunny or partially-shady location. In hotter areas and in drier soil, afternoon shade is preferable. This plant will grow in all kinds of soil from sand to clay, but it does need moisture and is not especially drought resistant.

Group Planting

For group planting allow three to five feet between plants. The wider spacing is best if you are planting in wet soil where this shrub will grow wider and larger. Organic mulch over the root zone will help to conserve moisture and in poor soil should be renewed each spring for the first few years until your plants are well established.

Care and Maintenance

Pruning is not really required, but if you need to reduce the size of your plant a little, you can choose to prune in late winter or early spring. Branches can be removed for decoration in winter and this is often all the pruning needed. For maximum berry production, plant a mixture of male and female plants near each other. You only need one male plant to about eight female plants to get a good berry crop.

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Winterberry Holly

Ilex verticillata

2 Reviews