How to Plant a Winterberry Bush

What You'll Need
Male winterberry plant
Female winterberry plant
Tape Measure or yard stick

The winterberry bush is a deciduous variety of holly that is native to the Eastern part of the United States. It is used as an ornamental shrub and as a bird attractant. It has the potential to grow up to 15 feet tall and changes colors throughout the year. This pleasant shrub is perfect for accenting your entry way or for creating a deciduous hedge.

Step #1 – Select the Right Location

When planting your winterberry bush, also referred to as Ilex verticillata, you need to find an area that has partial shade or full sun. The location should be somewhat sheltered if you experience extreme temperatures or climatic conditions. The soil pH of the planting site needs to be between 4.5 and 7.5 for ideal growth.

Step #2 – Dig a Hole

Once you have selected your planting site your next step is to dig a hole for your winterberry holly bush. This hole needs to be about 16 inches deep. Use a tape measure or a yard stick to achieve the correct depth.

Step #3 – Plant Your Winterberry

Step three is to plant your winterberry plant in the hole. Place the plant in the whole and fill in the hole using a mixture of sand and garden soil. This plant prefers fine grained to medium grained soil. Pack down the soil around the winterberry’s stem stock to secure it in an upright position.

Step #4 – Water Your Winterberry

After transplanting your first winterberry plant give it a good dose of water. This will help the plant to establish its root system.

Step #5 – Plant a Mate Nearby

If you want your winterberry holly bushes to reproduce you need to plant a male and a female winterberry close enough to enable pollination. Usually if they are planted within 40 feet of each other they will do just find. If you are concerned about deer kill of your winterberries then plant a higher ratio of female to male winterberries in your yard. This will ensure that enough female winterberries will survive to reproduce.

Step #6 – Winterberry Maintenance

After your winterberries have been planted they will need a little care during the year. This variety of holly needs about 36 inches of precipitation a year. If your area doesn’t get this much water then you will need to supplement the winterberry’s water supply. You will also need to prune your winterberry plants during the non-growth periods of the plants lifecycle, which is fall and winter. Pruning will enable you to manage the shape and spread of the plant. You will want to fertilize your winterberry once a year either in the fall or in the early spring before it start to grow. A basic, balanced fertilizer will work well. Finally, you can add mulch to your winterberry plants to give them an extra layer of protection if you have extremely harsh winters.