How to Plant and Maintain Winterberries in Containers

    The Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) is a shrub that adapts well to life in containers and gives beautiful white flowers of shades ranging from cream to light green. It flowers between the months of April and July, just after the plant has given new leaves. Towards the end of summer, the Winterberry gives spherical berries of approximately ¼ of an inch (~0.6 cm), that when ripe, turn an orange and/or scarlet red color to stay on the plant even into mid-winter. The berries of the Winterberry are food for more than 40 species of birds and many mammals as well. However, they are poisonous to human beings and should not be consumed.

    The Winterberry can measure between 1.5 and 5 meters in height. When planted, more than one shrub should be planted, since there are both male and female shrubs. Planting them at a short distance from one another can help optimize pollination. They can be planted in direct sunlight or in places with more shade; nevertheless, it is important that they have sufficient water and that the soil is rather neutral.


  • Plant the Winterberry in a large container with good drainage and place it somewhere where it can receive at least a few hours of direct sunlight every day.
  • The Winterberry grows well in damp, neutral soil. Water it with frequency, but do not allow mud to form or water to accumulate on the surface.
  • In containers, the plants have few nutrients; placing some fertilizer or organic soil in the container can help your Winterberry be healthier and give better fruits.
  • If you wish to know more about the Winterberry, visit this page by the USDA.