Ask a Question forum: Winterberry

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Name: Frau Lauzon
NJ - New Jersey (Zone 7a)
Feb 11, 2017 10:31 AM CST
I received a beautiful little potted winterberry plant as a Christmas gift. It had been doing very well with weekly watering since Christmas. In the last week or so, however, many leaves are dying off, and many of the berries are getting soft.

Is there any hope to continue to care for this as a potted plant? I tried to look it up, and see that it is a bush, and needs a pollinator. I would consider planting it outside, but right now, it is tiny, in a 4" pot!

I'm not sure of the light requirement, if I keep it indoors. It did well with indirect sunlight until recently.

Thank you in advance for your help!
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Feb 11, 2017 10:14 PM CST
Holly bushes do come in male and female. If you have berries, you have a female plant. But if you live in an area with a lot of winterberry, you may not need buy a male plant. You are a long way from needing a pollinator - first you need to get this plant to survive the winter.

I think you named the problem...'indoors' This plant needs to be outdoors. I'm sure 'outdoors' would be deadly this time of year (especially in a 4" pot) but do you have a cold garage or basement, with a window, you can put it in for now?

If you plan to keep your plant in a pot, pot it up to a 2 - 5 gallon pot. Don't fertilze. Don't over-water. Find a cold (but not freezing) spot for it to spend the winter.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Name: Frau Lauzon
NJ - New Jersey (Zone 7a)
Feb 12, 2017 7:27 PM CST
Thank you! I will try that for the winter. Might I try to plant it outside in the spring? Should I wait for it to reach a certain size? I will look to find a pollinator, since I know of no other winterberry in the area. I'm not sure it will do well in this zone. Thank you so much for getting back to me.
Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Heucheras Echinacea
Hellebores The WITWIT Badge Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Feb 12, 2017 7:51 PM CST
Winterberry is deciduous so losing leaves is normal.

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