Imagine: A plant that is ordinary most of the year, but becomes startlingly beautiful as fall goes into winter.
Name: Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Gold’
Type of Plant: A deciduous shrub that grows to 6 or 8 feet tall and wide. Nice, small dark green leaves all summer but fairly undistinguished until fall. Flowers are insignificant.
Why I love this plant: In the fall this shrub is covered with peach colored berries. Yes, the name is ‘Winter Gold’ but the fruit is actually a lovely peach color. This is one of the plants that makes fall into winter a delight.
A Word to the Wise: Plant this shrub where it can grow tall and wide and where you’re likely to see it in autumn. This type of holly loves moist soils and needs males and females in order to see berries. I have an Ilex verticillata ‘Southern Gentleman’ that pollinates all my female winterberries.
Although this is often a plant recommended for winter interest, in my experience the berries are often eaten by the birds before the end of the year. Oh well…we love growing plants for birds as well as for our own pleasure, right?