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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - October 19, 2007

From: Warren, CT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Do I need to plant a male winterberry? yes
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I planted a female winterberry in early July & although I have been watering it regularly the leaves turned brown on the tips in Sept. No berries yet so will I have to plant a male? Thanks, Carol

ANSWER:

Winter berry (Ilex verticillata (common winterberry)) is a member of the Holly family, but its leaves lack the sharp spines of other hollies, and it is not evergreen. It is native to the US, and is distributed in all of the states east of the Mississippi River plus Texas.

You didn't mention if your plant flowered this year, and of course if there are no flowers, there will be no berries. Bloom time for Winterberry is April to July. Another requisite for berries is a pollen source, ie.a "male" Winterberry plant. If there are none in the vicinity, you will need to plant one to ensure those beautiful red berries in the fall (next fall that is).

 

From the Image Gallery


Common winterberry
Ilex verticillata

Common winterberry
Ilex verticillata

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