Winterberry windowboxes, like this one, last a long time in cool weather. Tuck stems or sprigs of the berries into a box planted with dwarf conifers, decorated with pine cones or filled with cut greenery.
A gray urn comes to life with an arrangement of red winterberries and assorted greenery. In the wild, winterberries can be found growing in moist wooded areas, swamps or along streams and ponds. In the garden or landscape, the plants grow slowly and need little maintenance.
Bright red winterberries add cheerful color to swags of cut greenery. 'Berry Heavy' is a selection that bears a heavy crop of bright orange-red fruits. Choose 'Berry Nice' for lots of dark red, shiny berries.
Japanese beetles tend to avoid hollies, and ‘Afterglow’ winterberry is no exception. This is a deciduous holly—it drops its leaves in fall. No leaves means the berried stems sparkle through winter. Hardy in Zones 3-9. Use as a hedge or in a rain garden.
alt text: Ilex verticillata ‘Afterglow’
When you're ready to arrange your harvested winterberry branches, cut about an inch off each stem, at an angle. Strip off any berries that would be below the water line in your container, to help prevent bacteria from growing, and add fresh water and a floral preservative.
White tulips and lilies dress up little vases filled with evergreen cuttings and winterberry stems. J, a flower expert at uBloom.com, suggests slipping ribbons saved from last year's gifts over the vases. It's a quick and easy way to upcycle and recycle.
Ilex verticillata is a holly that loses its leaves in fall, leaving stems studded with berries. Commonly known as winterberries, ilex berries are available in bright red, orange or yellow; the yellow ones are great for Thanksgiving and fall arrangements, says grower Bill Prescott, of Stargazer Barn. "Winterberries grow all over the U.S.," he says. "Ours are bred for floral use, so they have long stems and nice, lateral branches that are dense with berries."
Grower Bill Prescott says winterberries are attractive enough to use by themselves in vases or other arrangements. If a few berries start to turn brown or wilt, just pick them off and discard them. Note: the ASPCA says winterberries are toxic to dogs, cats and horses. Avoid using winterberries around animals and children.
Why we love it: The red berries absolutely sparkle against a snowy backdrop. Winterberry is a cinch to grow—it requires only the most minimal care after planting. Prune occasionally as needed to shape plants. Make sure you plant a male pollinator to ensure a good berry set.
Designer Gordon Dunning uses thistle and winterberry as punctuation on this gorgeous bunting of magnolia leaves ornamenting a staircase at the Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles 2018 Home for the Holidays Showhouse and Marketplace.