Gardening Articles: Landscaping :: Trees, Shrubs, & Vines

Winter's Hollies (page 4 of 5)

by Michael MacCaskey

Deciduous Hollies

These are used primarily in the Northeast, but are becoming more important in the Midwest. All have waxy berries in various shades of red, orange and yellow. Berries cover leafless branches until consumed by birds, late December in most cases.

Ilex decidua
Possum Haw Holly — Hardy to -10°F. The showiest of the native deciduous hollies, this plant develops into a large shrub or small tree approximately 25 feet tall. Leaves are 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 inches long, dark green, occasionally glossy. Berries form singly or in small clusters on short spurs; colors vary between bright orange to red. They persist well into winter, generally longer than those of I. verticillata. Pollinated by I. opaca as well as by male of own species. All of the following are shrubs 15 to 18 feet tall. Native of southeastern and central U.S.

'Pocahontas'. Bark light gray. Berries large, red.

'Red Cascade'. Bark light gray. Leaves wide, glossy green. Berries persistent.

Ilex serrata
Finetooth Holly — Hardy to -15°F. Medium-size shrub, four to eight feet tall. Branches and twigs show prominent pores known as lenticels." Leaves 1-1/2 to three inches long, 3/4-inch wide with sharply toothed margins. Berries about 1/4-inch in diameter. Native of Japan and China where it is a favored bonsai subject.

'Sun Drops'. Outstanding yellow-berry variety.

Hybrids of Ilex serrata and I. verticillata
Winterberry Hybrids. Hardy to -15°F. All varieties are good, though some show color earlier than others.

'Apollo'. Male.

'Bonfire'. Grows to 10 feet. Berries scarlet red, abundant.

'Harvest Red'. Grows to 12 feet. Berries dark red, persist well.

'Sparkleberry'. Introduced by U.S. National Arboretum in 1973. Grows to 12 feet. Leaves yellow in fall. Berries large, very persistent (until March), extremely heavy setting. Plant with 'Apollo'.

Ilex verticillata
Common Winterberry. Hardy to -30°F. Large shrub to 12 feet high and wide spreading. Leaves 1-1/2 to 3-1/2 inches long; margins toothed, fuzzy on bottoms near veins. Leaves rich green in summer, black after heavy freeze. Berries bright red; usually persist until Christmas, attracting many birds. Native to swampy, low woodland areas from Nova Scotia to western Ontario and Wisconsin, south to Florida, west to Missouri Berries orange-red. Cold hardy.

'Bright Horizon'. Grows to six feet in 12 years. Berries red.

'Cacapon'. Grows to eight feet. Leaves dark green, crinkled. Berries dark red.

'Earlibright'. Grows to seven feet tall and four feet wide. Berries orange-red, early maturing.

'Jim Dandy'. Deep green leaves on a dense, twiggy, oval-rounded form. Male pollenizer.

'Red Sprite' (synonyms 'Nana' and 'Compacta'). Grows to five feet. Berries large, red.

'Shaver'. Berries notably large.

'Simpson'. Early-flowering male for pollination.

'Stop Light' (synonym 'Hopperton'). Berries large red.

'Sunset'. Grows six feet high, eight feet wide. Berries abundant, orange-red.

'Winter Gold'. Yellow-fruited selection of 'Winter Red' (below).

'Winter Red'. Old variety, the standard against which others are measured. Grows eight feet tall. Leaves lustrous dark green. Red berries abundant, persistent.

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