Red Sprite Winterberry
Ilex verticillata ‘Nana’ (aka ‘Red Sprite’)
Description: This little gem is a smaller form of the deciduous holly, known as winterberry.
A native North American shrub, Ilex verticillata is often found growing in damp areas in the eastern third of the United States.
Its deep green leaves, which do not change color before they fall, give way to dense clusters of intensely red berries useful for decorating around the holidays.
The berries cling to the naked stems long after the leaves drop, provided that the birds do not eat them first, lending a dramatic effect to a snow-covered landscape. Hardy to Zone 4.
- Type/habit: Small shrub
- Key season and features of interest: Large, bright red berries persisting into winter
- Flowering period: June – July
- Evergreen or deciduous: Deciduous
- Native? Yes
- Pollinator plant: Attracts bees and butterflies
- Wildlife benefits: Host plant for certain butterflies; cover and food source for birds
- Site/Condition tolerance: Part shade, wet conditions
- Sun/Shade preference: Full sun
- Soil condition preference: Moist, acidic, fertile, well-drained
- Low maintenance; pest and disease resistant
Growth Habit: Twiggy branches, compact oval to mounded form and suckering tendency
Size (mature height and spread): 3-5’ tall and wide
Hardiness (USDA Zones): 3-9
Nativity: Eastern North America
Suggested Uses: Borders, rain garden, mass plantings
Year of award: 1998