Winterberry Varieties

Also called black alder, winterberry (Ilex verticillata) is a species of deciduous holly that displays its red or yellow berries on naked stems in late fall into midwinter. Native to moist areas of southeastern North America, it bears male and female flowers on different plants, requiring bees to facilitate pollination. Ensure at least one male-flowering plant is within 100 feet of female-flowering shrubs. Only female shrubs can bear the decorative fruits that also provide food to famished songbirds.

Jim Dandy

"Jim Dandy" is a male-flowering winterberry that is needed to pollinate other early-spring blooming female winterberry plants. It is sometimes also marketed as "Dwarf Male." It is slow growing and matures to only 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide.

Southern Gentleman

Use "Southern Gentleman" to pollinate nearby late-spring blooming female winterberry plants. It grows to 8 feet tall and equally wide, so place it in the rear of a shrub border in a practical but not centrally visible location.

Winter Red

The most popularly grown female winterberry, according to The Ohio State University, is "Winter Red." This female grows 8 feet tall and equally as wide and needs a late-flowering male pollinator shrub nearby, such as "Southern Gentleman."

Winter Gold

A mutation from "Winter Red," "Winter Gold" produces golden orange berries with hints of pink. It also needs a late season male-flowering pollinator like "Southern Gentleman." The female "Winter Gold" grows 10 feet tall and wide.

Red Sprite

Perfectly sized for smaller residential foundation beds and gardens, "Red Sprite" grows 4 feet tall and wide. This female needs an early blooming male pollinator like "Jim Dandy" close-by. "Red Sprite" may also be sold with the name "Nana" or "Compacta."

Shaver

The orange-red berries of the female "Shaver" are borne in profusion and persist well into the depths of winter. This shrubs grows 6 feet tall and wide and needs a male shrub like "Southern Gentleman" nearby to facilitate timely pollination.

Sunsplash

Rarely encountered in plant nurseries is this female shrub that bears red fruits and green leaves mottled with yellow. It is among the slowest growing selections.

Stoplight

Glossy green leaves and plump, deep red berries form on "Stoplight," also called "Hopperton." Growing to 8 feet tall and wide, use an early male blooming pollinator such as "Jim Dandy."

Cacapon

Growing 5 to 7 feet tall and only 4 to 5 feet wide, the more upright-shaped female shrub named "Cacapon" produces red berries. It needs "Jim Dandy" or any other early flowering male shrub to pollinate it.

Afterglow

With slightly smaller leaves than other winterberry shrubs, "Afterglow" tends to have more densely growing branches but still manages to mature nearly 10 feet tall and wide. Its reddish orange berries mature to a more true orange color by mid-autumn. Use "Jim Dandy" as the early season pollinating male shrub.

Aurantiaca

Only 5 feet tall and wide, "Aurantiaca" needs an early blooming male like "Jim Dandy" for pollination. The berries are orange-red and then fade to golden orange.

Chrysocarpa

This yellow-berried form of the wild species is sometimes regarded as a cultivar. It grows upwards of 7 feet tall and equally wide. It needs an early male flowering pollinator companion such as "Jim Dandy."

Keywords: black alder varieties, winterberry varieties, winterberry cultivars, Ilex verticillata, male winterberries, female winterberries

About this Author

James Burghardt has written for "The Public Garden," "Docent Educator," nonprofit newsletters and for horticultural databases, becoming a full-time writer in 2008. He's gardened and worked professionally at public and private gardens in Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. He has written articles for eHow and GardenGuides.