What IS that plant?

January 6, 2018

While driving around doing last minute holiday errands, you notice a swatch of bright red among all the leafless, dormant shrubbery on the side of the road.  Is it flowers in the middle of winter? No, it's clusters of bright red berries on a native plant called Winterberry or Ilex Verticillata if you want to get specific.    Technically Winterberry is a type of holly but it isn't evergreen or have thick, shiny leaves that come to mind when we think of hollies.    The leaves of this plant drop in winter as it go



es dormant like other deciduous trees and shrubs in our area.  What remains throughout the winter is critical to sustaining our native bird population.  The bright red berries reveal themselves just in time for the many DIY'ers who make their own holiday greenery.  The branches with berries look beautiful on wreaths, swags, and in floral arrangements.  We would recommend purchasing your own plants for your yard for ease of access, and to add to the food supply for our  native wildlife.  Winterberry plants are easy to grow, with very few diseases or pests. Although wet acidic soils are optimal, the Winterberry will grow well in the average garden.

FUN FACT: When purchasing plants, remember that these plants, like most hollies are dioecious, with separate male and female plants; the proximity of at least one male plant is required to pollinate the females in order to bear fruit.  1 male plant to 5 female plants is a good ratio to use to ensure your plants form those beautiful red berries.

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