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winterberry produces copious amounts of bright red berries that really shine in the fall and winter landscape. It is a deciduous holly, which means it loses its leaves in fall, but this makes that vivid fruit even showier. The berries can also be cut for use in floral arrangements. To produce berries a male and female plant are both required - use Mr. Poppins.
It is best to avoid pruning winterberry hollies, except to remove whole branches for arrangements and decorating. Regular maintenance pruning or cutting back will impact the number of flowers and the quantity of fruit that the plant sets. Little pruning should be required, though very old branches can be removed in early spring if they are no longer producing vigorous growth. When most people think of holly, they think of a shrub with bright red berries and glossy evergreen foliage. Holly always has glossy evergreen leaves, right? Well, not always. Ilex verticillata, commonly known as winterberry holly, is a native shrub that loses its leaves each autumn. After the leaves have turned yellow and dropped, you are left with a breathtaking view of thousands of brightly colored berries clinging to every stem. What a joy to have such color in the middle of winter!
Winterberry holly is an amazing plant with a tremendous geographical range and a very diverse genetic expression. Native populations of Ilex verticillata stretch from Nova Scotia, south to Florida and west to Missouri. It can be found growing in low grounds, moist woods, swamps and occasionally in higher, drier soils. Though it is most commonly found in moist soils, it can also be grown quite successfully in average garden soils.Unlike other familiar holly shrubs, winterberry is a deciduous shrub rather than an evergreen. Although one might view this as a drawback, it proves to be a beneficial trait, since it allows the exciting display of red berries to come to the forefront as winter arrives. All the attention is drawn to the plant's fruit, with no foliage to obstruct the view. It's often associated with the Christmas holiday season and can be found sold as a small potted shrub for gifting. (Source: www.thespruce.com)