The Q&A Archives: Winterberries

Question: does a female winterberry need a male to produce berries? If so, how far away can they be planted from one another? I have a female and male and no berries. The female is a dwarf variety.

Answer: Winterberry hollies (Ilex verticillata) do require a male and female in order to produce berries; they also need to bloom at the same time in order to be compatible. Spacing within a typical yard is usually sufficient, but next to each other or within thirty feet or so is probably better. So the answer to your question depends a little bit on what specific varieties you have. The nursery who supplied the female should also stock the appropriate male. Also, these plants bloom and set their berries in early summer and the crop will be best when the soil stays evenly moist all season. In a dry summer, the berries may fall prematurely. Good luck with your winterberries.

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