Native plants for wetlands, fields or forests and an eclectic mix of other botanic delights

Ilex verticillata

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In Stock
Winterberry Holly
Bright Red Berries For Birds & Winter Landscapes
Mature Size:
' Height /
' Spread
Expected Size:
Light Preference:
Sun to Shade
Soil Preference:
Moist to Wet
$18.50/1 gal.; $24.50/2 gal.; $45.00/3 gal. for specimen varieties
10% off each plant, when 3 or more are purchased (3 to 7 gallon plants)

Ilex verticillata, or Winterberry Holly grows as a moderately upright, large, rounded shrub. Grown mainly for its winter color and value. The females are laden with bright red berries and the songbirds feed on them in late winter, after successive freeze/thaw cycles have softened their starchy berries.  Must have acid soils, and can tolerate wet feet. Dark green leaves often with purple edges, especially when opening in the spring, yellow autumn color.

This holly species is native to eastern North America in the United States and southeast Canada, from Newfoundland west to Ontario and Minnesota, and south to Alabama.

Other names that have been used include Brook Alder, Canada holly, Deciduous Holly, Deciduous Winterberry, false alder, fever bush, Michigan Holly, Swamp Holly, Virginian Winterberry, or Winterberry Holly.

The species occurs particularly in wetland habitats, but also on dry sand dunes and grassland. The berries are an important food resource for many bird species, typically later on in the winter as the berries are starchy and are more digestible to birds after several freeze/thaw cycles.  We have observed bluebirds eating them as early as Novemeber, though.  Lindera benzoin, or spicebush berries are preferred early in the fall due to their oily, high energy content.

Ilex verticillata is a shrub growing to 1–5 meters (3.3–16 ft.) tall. It is one of a number of hollies which are deciduous, losing their leaves in the fall. In wet sites, it will spread to form a dense thicket, while in dry soil it remains a tight shrub. The leaves are glossy green, 3.5–9 cm long, 1.5–3.5 cm broad, with a serrated margin and an acute apex. The flowers are small, 5 mm diameter, with five to eight white petals.

The fruit is a globose red drupe 6–8 mm diameter, which often persists on the branches long into the winter, giving the plant its English name. Like most hollies, it is dioecious, with separate male and female plants; the proximity of at least one male plant (some say, within a quarter mile) is required to fertilize the females in order to bear fruit. We currently carry 'Red Sprite', a 3'-4' dwarf which is a heavy-berried dwarf variety.  'Winter Red' is heavy berried and taller (6' - 8'), but smaller than the species. "Maryland Beauty" is larger (5' - 7")and very heavily berried, with shinier leaves.  "Winter Gold' is a lovely shade of orange-gold (We do not carry this variety, but we can sometimes obtain it).

We carry the male pollinators, "Jim Dandy" for early flowering "Red Sprite", and "Maryland Beauty", and "Southern Gentleman" for late flowering "Winter Red".

35, 50
2’- 3’ (1 gal), 5’- 6’ (3 gal)
$6.50, $12.50
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Prices listed are subject to change, based upon size change and availability.

We are a small local nursery with limited shipping capability. We will do our best to ship smaller material (usually 1 or 2 gallon), although we can sometimes ship larger plants with the pots removed.

We have some species that are not listed, as we have too few of them to make a full listing plausible. You can always inquire.

We will consider contract growing an order with appropriate advance notice and availability of seed, cuttings or lining out stock.

Spring Business Hours
10 - 6
10 - 6
By Appointment
10 - 6
10 - 5
10 - 5
11 - 3
Kollar Nursery | 5200 West Heaps Road, Pylesville, MD 21132 | 410.836.0500
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