Southern Gentleman Winterberry
Ilex verticillata ‘Southern Gentleman’
If you’re looking for a splash of red during drab winter months, then purchasing this Southern Gentleman Holly (and a female holly bush if you don’t have one) is the first step. Known botanically as ilex verticillata, the Southern Gentleman Holly is the male counterpart to the female winterberry bush known for her attractive red berries in the colder months.
Love is in the Air with a Holly Pair, It’s not necessary to have the female equivalent of the Southern Gentleman Holly, but together, they make an elegant spectacle. It’s advised that the male and females be no more than 50 feet apart from each other. All you need is one Southern Gentleman Holly bush for every 5 to 10 female plants if you want a spectacular crop of beautiful berries.
You’ll find that the Southern Gentleman is the perfect suitor with female winterberry bushes such as the sparkleberry, the ever-popular winter red and other later blooming holly varieties.
Don’t Be Fooled – He’s Pretty Handsome Too, Enough talk about the flashy female counterparts – let’s discuss what makes this male winterberry bush so debonair. The medium emerald-colored elliptical leaves are slightly toothed and rather soft to the touch. When the plant is blooming in the spring it features petite, white flowers with a slight hint of yellow. In fact, by examining the stamens you can distinguish the males from the females. The winterberry ‘fellows’ have projected stamens while the ‘ladies’ stamens have a rounded bump at the center.
Places to Show Off This Fetching Fellow
Given its love of wet areas, this holly bush does quite well close to ponds, streams and even near downspouts if the area is well-drained. When planted closely, they make an excellent shrub border, hedge line or an avian garden since birds love them. Look Forward to Autumn and Winter This Year, When autumn rolls around, the foliage becomes an absolute head turner. The colors of the leaves transform from green to yellow and then to a deep red/purple, and changes to a bronze hue after the first hard frost of the season.
Choose a location where your holly will receive full sun (6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day) and well-drained soil. If you’re in an area where hot, dry summers are common, provide your plant with partial shade in the afternoon. Dig a hole that’s as deep as the root ball and twice the width. Amend the soil with acid-rich compost made from organic matter. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole. Fill the hole surrounding the roots with soil, tamping down firmly. Water your plant to help remove air pockets from the soil.
Water your holly regularly after planting, ensuring the soil is moist to a depth 2 inches down. Once the plant is established, it will be somewhat drought tolerant but will produce a larger amount of flowers and berries if watered regularly.
Winterberries do not typically need to be fertilized unless they’re growing more slowly than normal. If this is the case, apply an evergreen-specific fertilizer in spring around the base of the plant. Be sure to follow the application instructions on the label for optimum performance.
Prune your Winterberry in early spring to remove any dead or diseased branches, or branches that are crisscrossing and rubbing together. Make your cuts at a 45-degree angle, ensuring the clipping tools are sterilized with alcohol.
This holly is a male-only cultivar and will not produce berries. Plant to enjoy the wonderful foliage and flowers, or to pollinate other female hollies on your property.
|Mature Height:||6-8 ft|
|Mature Width:||6-8 ft|
|Sunlight:||Full to Partial Sun|
|Grows Well in Zones:||3-9|
|Your Growing Zone:||6|