BERRY HEAVY® Winterberry Holly

Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 Exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun Height: 6-8' Width/Spread: 6-8'

This mass of cheery red berries looks at home in a variety of gardens – wildlife, native, formal, and mixed beds, of course. If you need a big surefire success for your fall show, trust Berry Heavy winterberry. It has a nice large habit, with good branching. It loads up with tiny white flowers in the springtime and when pollinators cross back and forth between it and the male pollinator, Mr. Poppins™, it develops a profusion of berries. There are more than enough branches to gather some for floral displays and leave plenty for the birds. This plant drops its leaves early in the fall, which gives it a great landscape presence. Unlike older varieties that keep their leaves well into late fall, which hides the berries a bit and makes it a little tedious to clean up to display in a vase. Once a few frosts hit, the berries will soften up enough for the birds to eat them. Unlike the birds, deer won’t touch these plants, so you’ll get to enjoy watching this North American native grow uninhibited.

Why grow Berry Heavy winterberry?

  • Tolerates a variety of conditions, including clay soils and rain gardens
  • Abundant fruit set
  • Easy maintenance

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Light: Needs an absolute minimum of four hours of direct sunlight to produce flowers. Gets the best berry set with more sun exposure.

Soil: Can live in a range of soils, but really prefers a slightly acidic pH. Does not need good drainage, as it naturally thrives in boggy conditions.

Water: Requires regular water to thrive.

Fertilizing: Doesn’t really need fertilizer, but some can be applied in the springtime.

Pruning: Pruning is not recommended, as it will affect either the berry display or future flower production.

Other: Berry laden branches look lovely in floral arrangements or festive holiday décor in fall and winter. When you select a branch, cut it all the way down to the main stem. This will help keep your plant looking handsome and more natural. It does require a male pollinator to produce fruit; Mr. Poppins™ is the preferred pollinator but ‘Jim Dandy’ will also work.

Botanical Name

Ilex verticillata 'Spravy'

Zone

3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Flower Color

Red

Foliage Color

Green

Height

6-8'

Width/Spread

6-8'

Exposure

Full Sun, Part Sun

Soil

Moist, Wet

Season of Interest

Fall, Winter

Uses

Cutting Gardens, Naturalizing, Rain Gardens

Features

Attracts pollinators, Clay soil, Cut flower, Deer resistant, Native, Winter Interest

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Gardening Simplified magazine
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