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Shrub

Red Sprite Winterberry

Ilex verticillata 'Red Sprite'

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Red Sprite Winterberry (Ilex verticillata 'Red Sprite') at Gertens

Ilex verticillata 'Red Sprite' fruit

Ilex verticillata 'Red Sprite' fruit

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Red Sprite Winterberry (Ilex verticillata 'Red Sprite') at Gertens

Ilex verticillata 'Red Sprite' in fall

Ilex verticillata 'Red Sprite' in fall

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 4 feet

Spread: 4 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone: 4a

Other Names: Black Alder

Description:

A naturally dwarf deciduous holly with extremely colorful bright red berries throughout winter, requires a male pollinator; upright growth habit, suckers into colonies; requires moist to wet acidic soils, good for problem areas; excellent when massed

Ornamental Features:

Red Sprite Winterberry has dark green foliage throughout the season. The pointy leaves do not develop any appreciable fall color. The flowers are not ornamentally significant. It features an abundance of magnificent red berries from mid fall right through to late winter. This is a female variety of the species which requires a male selection of the same species growing nearby in order to set fruit. The smooth brown bark is not particularly outstanding.

Landscape Attributes:

Red Sprite Winterberry is a dense multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with a more or less rounded form. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This shrub will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. It is a good choice for attracting birds to your yard. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Suckering

Red Sprite Winterberry is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • General Garden Use
  • Mass Planting
  • Hedges/Screening

Plant Characteristics:

Red Sprite Winterberry will grow to be about 4 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 4 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn't necessarily require facer plants in front. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers to grow in moist to wet soil, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is very fussy about its soil conditions and must have rich, acidic soils to ensure success, and is subject to chlorosis (yellowing) of the leaves in alkaline soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder zones.

This is a selection of a native North American species.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight Soil pH Preference
Characteristics
Massing Screening Garden
Applications
Fruit Winter Value Attracts Wildlife
Ornamental Features