Saturday, December 13, 2008


A good plant to grow in wet areas of the garden is the native deciduous holly, winterberry (Ilex verticillata). Winterberry is native from the mid-west to the eastern US, and grows in swamps and bogs in zones 3-8 in full sun to partial shade. It tolerates dry conditions, but prefers moist or wet acidic soil, even standing water. We have it growing all along the edge of the lake.

In the summer you’ll hardly notice the plant, but in the fall the beautiful berries start out orange and then turn red, adding to the fall foliage.

Once the leaves have fallen from the plant, the bright red berries stand out. They look especially beautiful against the snow. If the birds don’t eat all the berries, you can use them for Christmas decorations. This year the plants are laden with berries since we had such a rainy summer.

If you buy winterberry from a garden center, make sure you buy a male pollinator as well as female plants to produce berries. The male should be planted within 30 feet of the females. One male plant will pollinate several female plants.

Winterberry is 6-8 feet tall, and has no serious pests or diseases.

No comments: