How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Winterberry Holly

Winterberry hollies are stunning shrubs all 12 months lengthy. These multi-stemmed shrubs have an exquisite upright progress behavior, making slipping them into many various components of our gardens straightforward. 

Winterberry holly are stunning native vegetation which have many makes use of in our gardens. From lush and shiny inexperienced leaves to vibrant crimson or orange berries, this shrub has all of it. 

If you wish to develop some winterberry holly in your backyard, learn on! I’ll get into the entire particulars you must plant, develop, and take care of winterberry holly efficiently.

Winterberry Holly Plant Overview

A close-up of vibrant red winterberries neatly arranged along a slender stem, glistening in the sunlight. The lush, scarlet colors and elegant arrangement of these winterberries make them a captivating natural spectacle in the winter landscape.

Plant Kind

Deciduous Shrub 

Native Space

North America 


Full solar to partial shade 

Watering Necessities

Reasonable to excessive 













What Is It?

Winterberry will get its identify from its brightly coloured berries that seem and final all through winter. Native to North America, the bark and roots of this shrub had been used medicinally by Native People to deal with numerous illnesses. An previous nickname for winterberry was “fever bush,” which it earned from the profitable therapy of a variety of ailments


Branches of the winterberry holly bush are heavily laden with clusters of vibrant red winterberries. These luscious red berries add a pop of color and provide a vital food source for wildlife during the colder months.
Winterberry holly requires each female and male vegetation for pollination.

Winterberry is within the holly, or Ilex, genus. In contrast to many different hollies, nevertheless, winterberry is a deciduous shrub, which implies it’ll drop its leaves within the cooler months. The classically stunning crimson berries of the holly genus are current in winterberry, offering tons of winter curiosity to your backyard. 

The foliage of winterberry hollies is deep inexperienced with toothed leaves. Within the late spring and early summer time, these shrubs will produce tiny white flowers, later reworking into stunning berries. Relying on which winterberry selection you choose, the leaves will tackle autumn colour in shades of purple, orange, or bronze.  

There may be one crucial factor to recollect if you wish to add winterberry to your backyard. These shrubs are dioecious, which means you have to to plant each a male and a feminine winterberry for pollination to happen.

With out pollination, there will likely be no flowering and, you guessed it, no berries. Deciding on a female and male winterberry could seem difficult. Fortunately, most backyard facilities may have plant tags with all the mandatory info, however should you’re unsure, ask for help in deciding on a associate plant.

Native Space

A winterberry holly bush showcasing its red fruits and glossy green leaves, glistening in the sunlight. The leaves and red berries of the winterberry holly create a beautiful contrast, bringing a touch of seasonal charm to the garden.
The plant thrives in numerous soil varieties however exhibits stress if not adequately watered.

Winterberry holly is native to North America. It grows properly in most soil varieties and tolerates dry and moist circumstances. These shrubs will present indicators of stress if left to dry out for prolonged durations. 


Winterberry hollies would not have any particular necessities when planting them in your backyard beds. 


In a serene autumn landscape, the branches of a winterberry holly bush stand bare, with only a few resilient leaves and berries. The blurred background subtly unveils surrounding grasses, adding depth to the natural setting.
Kinds of winterberry shrubs are available numerous container sizes, together with balled-and-burlapped choices.

Whereas deciding on your winterberry shrubs on the backyard heart, you might discover them in different-sized containers, as naked root vegetation, and even balled-and-burlapped

  1. Dig a gap about twice as deep and as extensive because the rootball of your winterberry. 
  2. Take away the container or the burlap and examine the rootball for any potbound roots. In case you discover that the roots are potbound, use your arms to interrupt the roots aside gently. This can assist make sure that the roots can take up water and vitamins whereas additionally serving to them set up themselves strongly within the soil. 
  3. Place the winterberry in your freshly dug gap, guaranteeing the plant crown is even with the soil degree.
  4. Backfill along with your backyard soil, packing it down gently.
  5. Water! These shrubs don’t prefer to dry out, and it’s essential in these early weeks that the soil stays moist. 

Easy methods to Develop

This shrub is straightforward to develop and really straightforward to take care of. Let’s take a look at what it’s essential to do to develop the most effective winterberry holly potential. 


Bright red winterberries clings to their slender stems, set against a backdrop of lush, green leaves. These plump, crimson jewels glisten in the warm embrace of the golden sunlight.
Winterberry hollies require a minimal of six hours of direct daylight.

Winterberry grows nicely in full solar to partial shade. For the utmost quantity of berries, situate your winterberry in an space of your backyard the place it receives a minimum of six hours of direct daylight. 


A winterberry branch is adorned with an abundance of vibrant green leaves, their surfaces glistening with droplets of water. Nestled among the leaves, a cluster of bright red berries adds a striking contrast.
They require constant moisture and are unsuitable for dry climates with out frequent watering.

Winterberry grows greatest in moist soil. Like many different vegetation, winterberry wants a minimum of one inch of water per week via rainfall or irrigation.

Don’t permit these shrubs to dry out. Rising winterberry in dry climates will not be advisable until you’re ready to supplementally water frequently. 


A woman wearing floral gardening gloves and bright yellow rubber boots is carefully cradling a white bowl filled with soil. She's about to release the earthy treasure onto the ground. In the foreground, a sturdy trowel stands upright.
These hollies thrive in acidic soil however battle in impartial to alkaline soils.

Hollies, basically, develop greatest in acidic soil, and winterberry hollies aren’t any totally different. Along with the acidity, these shrubs will develop nicely in heavy or gentle soils. Winterberry that grows in impartial to alkaline soils will endure from chlorosis or yellowing of the leaves. 

In case you are nonetheless figuring out your soil pH, seize a pH take a look at from a backyard heart or get a full-blown soil take a look at. 

Amend your soil as wanted. Within the case of winterberry, utilizing a fertilizer for acid-loving vegetation will possible do the trick. 

Temperature and Humidity

A close-up of a winterberry stem with red berries in a frosty coating, capturing the essence of a frigid winter morning. The frozen leaves add a delicate, crystalline touch, showcasing nature's resilience in the face of cold.
Winterberries thrive in zones 3-9, however keep away from planting them in dry areas.

Winterberry hollies are hardy in zones 3-9. These shrubs will sometimes develop properly in these zones and tolerate most circumstances. Be cautious of planting winterberries in dry areas as a result of these shrubs don’t love arid circumstances; equally, be ready to offer some shade throughout peak summer time warmth, if potential.


A blue-gloved hand firmly grips a paper bag. The bag is brimming with pristine white granules of fertilizer, ready for gardening or farming. The background is a pleasant blur of lush green leaves, providing a tranquil and natural setting.
Making use of acid-loving plant fertilizer in spring and fall promotes wholesome winterberries with vibrant foliage.

Utilizing a primary fertilizer in your winterberries is an effective way to spice up their well being. Utilizing a fertilizer that’s particularly for acid-loving vegetation is even higher. This can make sure that the shrubs can take up all of the vitamins they obtain from the fertilizer and the soil. 

Apply fertilizer as soon as within the spring and once more early within the fall. This can lead to wholesome new progress and darkish inexperienced and shiny leaves. 


Winterberry branches in the warm December sunlight, adorned with an abundance of red berries. The blurred background reveals a picturesque landscape, showcasing additional winterberry shrubs, each adorned with their own clusters of plump red berries.
Winterberry must be pruned in late winter or early spring.

Winterberry is a comparatively low-maintenance plant. The flowers, which is able to make means for the show-stopping berries, kind on new progress.

Any pruning it’s essential to do must be accomplished in late winter or early spring earlier than any new progress seems. Winterberry is a vigorous grower and must be pruned to take care of dimension and form. 

  • Utilizing sharp shears, start by pruning a number of the oldest branches right down to the bottom. 
  • To keep up form and dimension, take away not more than ⅓ of the branches in a single 12 months. This can be sure that the plant has ample time to get better. 


Propagating winterberries is best when accomplished with stem cuttings. You’ll solely want some shears, a container stuffed with soil, and the chopping itself. 


Several bare winterberry branches stretch out, adorned with clusters of vibrant red berries. The stark, leafless twigs contrast beautifully against the abundance of crimson berries, a picturesque sight against the winter landscape.
Late spring to mid-summer is good for winterberry stem cuttings.

Earlier than you start propagating, it’s at all times a nice thought to collect your entire provides

  1. Anytime from late spring to mid-summer is a good time to take stem cuttings out of your winterberry. 
  2. Utilizing clear and sharp shears, clip cuttings from a department of a feminine winterberry that produced berries final season. These cuttings must be about two inches in size. 
  3. Strip all decrease units of leaves from the department, leaving the highest pair intact. 
  4. If you want, dip your chopping into rooting hormone. 
  5. Place chopping into moist potting soil.
  6. Cowl your pot with a plastic bag to create a greenhouse impact. 
  7. Place your pot in a vibrant space with oblique daylight. Preserve the soil moist. 
  8. In about one month, your chopping ought to have produced roots. Your winterberry will likely be able to plant in your backyard when autumn arrives. 

There are many fantastically cultivated winterberry choices in the marketplace. Keep in mind the shrub’s dimension, the berries’ colour, and the most effective associate plant to your feminine or male winterberry. 

Berry Heavy 

In a radiant garden, branches of berry heavy laden with plump, orange berries soak up the warm, golden sunlight, creating a stunning contrast against the blurred backdrop of lush greenery. The ripe fruits shine, promising a delightful harvest.
‘Berry Heavy’ winterberry holly is a prolific shrub perfect for privateness screens.
botanical identify

Ilex verticillata ‘Berry Heavy’
solar necessities

Full solar to partial shade

6-8 ft 
hardiness zones


The identify of this winterberry is the right description of this shrub. ‘Berry Heavy’ produces many berries, arguably greater than another winterberry

This massive winterberry holly would make a wonderful privateness display screen or again border of a giant basis backyard. Plant ‘Berry Heavy’ with a male selection akin to ‘Mr. Poppins’.

Berry Poppins

Intertwined red berry poppins stems create a captivating natural spectacle. The sheer abundance of these crimson jewels elicits a sense of bountiful nature's generosity, promising a rich harvest and a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds.
This selection is a dwarf winterberry with giant, vibrant crimson berries.
botanical identify

Ilex verticillata ‘FarrowBPop’
solar necessities

Full solar to partial shade

3-4 ft 
hardiness zones


In case you are trying to find a smaller or dwarf winterberry, ‘Berry Poppins’ is a good choice. Its very giant berries are vibrant crimson and distinguished all through the winter months.

Throughout the rising season, the leaves of this shrub are darkish inexperienced and toothed. Plant with ‘Mr Poppins’ to boost the manufacturing of berries. 

Little Goblin 

In a serene setting beneath the boundless, azure sky, a charming little goblin winterberry shrub stands out. This delightful shrub, resplendent with crimson berries, adds a pop of color to the landscape.
‘Little Goblin’ sequence gives crimson and orange dwarf winterberries perfect for containers.
botanical identify

Ilex verticillata ‘Little Goblin’
solar necessities

Full solar to partial shade

3-5 ft 
hardiness zones


The ‘Little Goblin’ sequence has each a crimson and an orange choice. These are smaller or dwarf-sized winterberries, that are nice for containers or low-growing hedges. These winterberries additionally must be planted with male winterberries. Give ‘Little Goblin Man’ a strive. 

Crimson Sprite 

In a dimly lit garden, a red sprite winterberry holly shrub stands, its branches adorned with a sparse cluster of red berries. This small, ornamental shrub adds a touch of festive elegance to the winter landscape.
This winterberry selection has deep inexperienced leaves and vibrant crimson berries.
botanical identify

Ilex verticillata ‘Crimson Sprite’
solar necessities

Full solar to partial shade

3-5 ft 
hardiness zones


‘Crimson Sprite’ is an exquisite number of winterberry. The leaves are deep inexperienced all through the season. As soon as the leaves drop, this shrub will likely be lined in vibrant crimson berries.

Rising as much as 5 ft tall, ‘Crimson Sprite’ makes a beautiful hedge or addition to the again border of a basis backyard. Plant with a male winterberry akin to ‘Jim Dandy’

Winter Gold 

A close-up reveals the intricate beauty of a winter gold winterberry stem. Clusters of frozen orange berries cling to the branches. The delicate, frozen leaves complete this wintery masterpiece.
‘Winter Gold’ grows tall with pinkish-orange berries and darkish inexperienced leaves.
botanical identify

Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Gold’
solar necessities

Full solar to partial shade

5-8 ft 
hardiness zones


This number of winterberry grows fairly tall, as much as eight ft, producing pinkish-orange berries as a substitute of the traditional crimson you might be accustomed to. The darkish inexperienced leaves are shiny and can flip a shade of bronze within the fall.  Plant this feminine selection with a male selection akin to ‘Southern Gentleman.’ 

Frequent Issues

It’s arduous to consider that there’s a plant in the marketplace as tolerant of pests and ailments as winterberry holly. However it’s true! 


A close-up of red spider mites, reveals their bright crimson bodies as they congregate on delicate silk webbing meticulously woven across a green leaf. These minuscule pests showcase intricate patterns and textures against the leaf's surface.
Winterberry has excessive pest tolerance, primarily to mites and leafminers.

Winterberry has a very excessive tolerance to most backyard pests. You could run into points with mites or leafminers, however these bugs might be prevented by good plant care and, if wanted, might be handled with horticultural oil. 


A close-up of a brassica leaf revealing its prominent leaf spot, marked by a darker discoloration. In addition, there are several irregularly shaped holes scattered across the leaf's expanse.
Winterberry shrubs typically exhibit minimal susceptibility to ailments akin to leaf spot or powdery mildew.

Like its resistance to pests, winterberry isn’t challenged by ailments. These shrubs have been recognized to have just a few points with leaf spot or powdery mildew. Fortunately, these ailments are simply aesthetic and will go away independently with just a few slight adjustments from you.

  • Keep in mind, these ailments will possible solely final for one season.
  • Have a look at the winterberry rising circumstances. Is it getting sufficient solar? Powdery mildew loves humid, shady areas of your backyard. 
  • Test your watering practices. Leaf spot is a fungal illness. Though winterberry loves moist circumstances, in case you are splashing loads of water onto the leaves of your shrubs, you can be inflicting the leaf spot. 
  • In case you simply can’t stand to see your winterberry wanting lower than its greatest, head to the backyard heart and seize some neem. This oil will deal with each of those ailments.

Often Requested Questions

Sure! All components of the winterberry holly are poisonous to people to some extent. That is complicated for the reason that bark was as soon as used medicinally. Whereas the toxicity is simply slight, it’s best to keep away from consuming these vegetation. Plant winterberries the place kids won’t be tempted to eat the intense crimson berries.

Sure, however not long-term. These shrubs are referred to as “reward vegetation,” or vegetation that you could buy from a backyard heart that’s in an exquisite pot grown particularly for a sure time of 12 months. Many reward vegetation are pressured in a greenhouse and won’t have a excessive success fee rising outside. You may at all times give it a strive, although! An choice is planting it in an outside container and bringing that container indoors within the winter.

There are two fundamental causes that your winterberry will not be producing berries.

  1. You might be solely rising a male or feminine winterberry. These shrubs want each a male and a feminine for pollination to happen. You solely want about one male shrub for each 4 or 5 females.
  2. You might be pruning on the mistaken time. These shrubs produce berries and flowers on new wooden. Any pruning you do must be accomplished in late spring or early winter. This can assist to stop the unintended snipping off of any buds.

Remaining Ideas

Winterberry hollies are the right plant in case you are in search of year-round curiosity. The leaves are sometimes shiny and deep inexperienced. Its berries are jewel-toned and prolific, protecting the branches and feeding birds all winter. Winterberry is straightforward to take care of and tolerates many rising circumstances. Add just a few to your basis planting or woodland edge, or use it as a hedge!

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