Planting Instructions for Red Sprite


Commonly known as red sprite holly or red sprite winterberry, Ilex verticillata is a small shrub famed for its vibrant red berries. A dioecious plant, red sprite has separate male and female plants. Only the females produce berries, with the males serving to pollinate the female specimens.

Step 1

Find a location for your red sprite. Red sprite prefers part to full sun and well-drained, moist soil.

Step 2

Test your soil's pH with a pH tester. Red sprite likes slightly acidic soil with a pH of from 5.5 to 6.5, although it can tolerate more acidic soil. If the soil is too alkaline, add a layer of 1 to 2 inches of sphagnum peat to the soil and use a pitchfork or trowel to work it in to the top 12 inches of the soil. If it is too acidic, lightly dust the surface with limestone and work it into the soil.

Step 3

Dig a hole slightly deeper than the root ball, place a female red sprite in it, and cover the roots with dirt. If you wish to grow berries, prepare a second site about 4 to 6 feet away and plant a male red sprite. One male sprite can fertilize several females.

Step 4

Apply a high phosphorus fertilizer to the soil of the basil plants according to the directions on the bag.

Step 5

Water the plant well, until the ground is moist, but not soaking. Keep the soil moist throughout the year by watering about twice a week. Winterberries are bog plants, and prefer more water than most plants do.

Things You'll Need

  • pH tester
  • Limestone
  • Sphagnum peat
  • Pitchfork
  • Shovel
  • Red sprite
  • Fertilizer
  • Water


  • Iowa State Extension: How to Change Your Soil's pH
  • Backyard Gardener: Red Sprite Holly
  • Kemper Center for Home Gardening: Red Sprite Holly
  • Spring Valley Roses: Red Sprite Winterberry
Keywords: Ilex verticillata, red sprite holly, red sprite winterberry

About this Author

Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has nearly five years' experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.