Ilex ‘Red Sprite vs. Ilex ‘Berry Poppins’
Ilex verticillata, a.k.a. Winterberry is an excellent plant species and in my opinion, way underused. It is a great choice for the Midwest with a hardiness rating of zones 3-9. As it is a deciduous Holly, it offers exceptional seasonal interest in the fall and winter after it drops its
leaves, with its persistent bright colored fruit that ripens in late August – September. The fruit hangs on into mid-winter or even later depending on temperatures and bird populations. There have been selections made which offer fruit colors ranging from yellow to orange to the typical red. Winterberry fruit is very beautiful against a backdrop of snow. The fruit-laden branches are also very desirable for winter cut arrangements. Winterberry lends itself well to mass
planting; is easy to grow; tolerant of full sun or partial shade (better fruit set in full sun); adaptable to a wide variety of soils ranging from light to heavy soils and will thrive in wet areas as well. The plant can become chlorotic in high pH soils.