Winterberry Holly

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Ilex Verticillata ‘winterberry’ against the colors of winter, gray, white, black, create a god sent contrast of bright cheer in the garden. If we know winterberry at all, most of us see it at holiday times in winter containers and other holiday decorations. It is much more than that though. As a native plant of North America it grows in sun and part shade and handles low, wet ground. It can grow from 3 to 15 feet tall. Unlike regular holly, winter berry drops its foliage in winter. One might think this would be a drawback, but it is actually a benefit. The lack of foliage enhances the display of bright berries. Humans aren’t the only ones drawn to the spectacle of color. Song birds and other winter birds and wildlife are drawn to the plant. It also has healing properties. Native Americans were known to use the bark to heal cuts and bruises. They knew it as ‘fever bush’. I guess I am old fashion though, I still like winterberry best in my winter containers, wreaths and garland making a bright statement in the winter palette of color.

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