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Winterberry (Ilex Verticillata) Bare-Root Shrubs
Cold Stream Farm supplies wholesale and retail Winterberry shrubs from our headquarters in Free Soil, Michigan. Our Winterberry shrubs are available at different heights and plant maturities, with no minimum order on what is currently in stock. Shipping direct from Michigan, we supply Winterberry throughout the United States and Canada.
Everything to You Should Know About Winterberry Shrubs
Before you purchase one or several Winterberry shrubs, it is best to become familiar with the plant’s characteristics. Knowing the size, appearance, growing conditions, and ecology is very important when considering the plant’s overall health.
A Background on Winterberry Shrubs
Ilex Verticillata is the scientific name for a WInterberry shrub, which belongs to the Holly family. It is also commonly referred to as Canada Holly, common Winterberry, black-alder, swamp holly, Michigan holly, and northern holly.
Winterberry is native to eastern North America, within both Canada and the United States. The plant grows naturally from Florida to Newfoundland as far west as our home state of Michigan and beyond to Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Winterberry Plants Size and Appearance
A mature Winterberry shrub may reach anywhere between 3 and 12 feet in height, depending on its growing conditions. Winterberries are recognized by and named for their bright red berries which cling to the shrub’s branches throughout the winter season.
The flowers of a Winterberry bush bloom in late spring and bear a bright greenish-white flower. Long, oval green leaves populate the branches throughout the year, before turning into a brownish-black hue in the fall.
Ideal Winterberry (Ilex Verticillata) Growing Conditions
Ideally, Winterberry shrubs are grown in USDA zones 3-9. The plants prefer moist conditions with rich acidic soils. Although they tolerate partial shade well, Winterberry shrubs grown in full sun conditions will grow taller and sprout more flowers and fruits. Winterberry shrubs are best placed in poorly drained areas near streams, swamps, or wet woods. Additionally, the shrubs can also survive on dunes and exposed dry areas.
How to Determine the Sex of a Winterberry Shrub
It is very easy to determine the sex of a Winterberry shrub by looking at the plant’s flowers. A male Winterberry grows pollen-bearing flowers in clusters, whereas a female plant grows single flowers that are marked with a small green central “knob.”
Planting both male and female Winterberry shrubs is critical, as only fertilized female plants will produce autumn berries. One male Winterberry shrub should be planted for every 5-10 adjacent female plants to ensure pollination.
Wildlife and Ecology
Many North American bird species, such as the robins, bluebirds, and catbirds depend on Ilex Verticillata plants for their seasonal berries. Although the berries are also eaten by small rodents and other mammals, mature Winterberry shrubs are mainly used to attract birds to a property.
Human Uses for the Winterberry Shrub
Today, low-maintenance Winterberry shrubs are primarily grown ornamentally to add color in all seasons. The branches and berries are very common in flower arrangements, table centerpieces, and Christmas decorations.
Medicinally, the Winterberry shrub was important to Native Americans, some of whom referred to it as the “fever bush.” Although the plant’s bark and berries are toxic to humans, small doses have been said to aid in the treatment of fevers and intestinal problems.
Common Challenges Growing Winterberry Shrubs
In general, Winterberry shrubs are hardy plants that are resistant to diseases from pests and other infestations. If you are experiencing exceptionally slow growth, fertilization may be necessary if the soil is too alkaline.
Varieties of Winterberry Shrubs
Thanks to its popularity as an ornamental plant, Ilex Verticillata has been cultivated into many other varieties. Among them, most of the cultivars still bear the iconic bright-red Winterberry fruit. Some offshoots, such as “Afterglow” have more of an orangish red berry.
How to Plant and Maintain Your Winterberry Shrub
As a spreading species, it is important to plant Winterberry shrubs at least four feet apart from one another. The plants can be pruned to keep shape, however, quickly propagating suckers may make this task a chore if you are constantly limiting your plant’s growth.
Be careful to not plant your Winterberry transplant too deep into the ground. Over soiling will cause the immature plant to rot, so ensure that the root ball’s top is about equal to the soil level.
Until it reaches maturity, regular watering is very necessary to guarantee a healthy Winterberry shrub. Depending on the conditions, Winterberry shrubs usually require at least one inch of water per week until the end of fall.
Get Started with Wholesale Winterberry Shrubs Today.
Take the first step to acquiring your next Winterberry shipment by ordering online with Cold Stream Farm today. If you have any questions about shipping or future orders, reach out and give us a call. Cold Stream Farm grows and ships directly from Free Soil Michigan, providing retail and wholesale Winterberry shrubs at no minimum order quantity.