The Q&A Archives: Difference in Two Holly Varieties

Question: What are the main differences between the Sparkleberry Holly and the Winterberry Holly? Which has the most berries and of the two which is most shade tolerant?

Thank you for your time and help.
I enjoy your alls plants and have many in my yard.

Answer: The cultural conditions for both are the same, and both will do well in full to part sun; of the two, the Winterberry will produce the most berries and will tolerate the most shade. Here are the catalog descriptions so you can compare their attributes:

Ilex verticillata 'Sparkleberry'
Oval to rounded, deciduous shrub with rich, deep green foliage. Bright red berries appear from late summer to early fall. New foliage growth emerges showy red. Grows best in moist, rich, acidic, well-drained soil, yet tolerant of wet soils as well. Full to partial sun. Best berry production in full sun. Prune to shape if desired. Naturally reaches 8 to 10 feet tall and wide. Full to partial sun

Ilex verticillata 'Winter Red'
A large, upright female plant bearing shiny dark green foliage. Small creamy white blooms in early summer will mature into fruit with a late or very late blooming male pollinator. Green berries turn red in fall with most vivid color in winter after leaves have fallen. Extraordinary show of berry-laden stems is outstanding against snow. Lasts until birds consume the fruit. High quality winter focal point paired with the right male. Use as foundation color or in the back of the border for seasonal interest. Ideal natural hedge. Well adapted to low damp sites, prefers acidic soils. Deciduous shrub. Full sun or part shade. Moderate growth to 8 feet tall and as wide.

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