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Latin Name- Ilex Verticallata Hardy Planting Zone- 4-9 Mature Height- 3-5 ft Width- 3-5 ft Sun or Shade- Full Sun OR Partial Shade

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Winterberry Bush - Ilex verticillata

The winterberry bush is a native plant that thrives in plant hardiness zones three through nine. This bush provides a wonderful addition to autumn landscapes, as the bush draws a variety of animals, including birds, squirrels, rabbits and deer, to its berry-laden branches. In landscaping, winterberry is used to create borders, as ground cover in mass plantings, or as a specimen plant in native gardens.

The bright clusters of berries are main attraction, but hard-to-see white flowers and deep green, glossy leaves that appear in late spring or early summer. To encourage berry production, plant at least one male cultivar on the property. A single male has the potential to pollinate a large number of female plants, but the male and female bushes should be located within 50 feet of each other to ensure pollination.

The berries appear in mid-autumn and persist through early winter, and usually appear as red, yellow or orange clusters on the stems. The berries are highly visible once the bright yellow leaves fall of the bush in autumn, which may help attract songbirds and animals until the berries are gone.

Winterberry bushes are very hardy and can withstand a variety of growing conditions, including sandy, compacted and wet soils with poor drainage. As a native plant, the bush is found in marshy, wet areas and prefers slightly acidic soils. When grown in alkaline soil, the leaves may be yellow.

The bush has a slow rate of growth, and reaches about three to five feet high and three to five feet wide at maturity. To shape the bush, prune it in winter, and remove suckers in spring or summer unless the bush is planted to produce ground cover as a mass planting. To create hedgerows, plant the bushes in a row at least five feet apart, and plant one male every 40 to 50 feet.