Ilex verticillata 'Jim Dandy'
Common Name: winterberry
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Aquifoliaceae
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Dull white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Rain Garden
Flower: Insignificant
Tolerate: Erosion, Clay Soil, Wet Soil, Air Pollution


Easily grown in average, medium to wet soil in full sun to part shade. Adaptable to both light and heavy soils, but prefers moist, acidic, organic soils. Good tolerance for wet conditions (the species is native to swampy areas of Eastern North America). Winterberries are dioecious. This cultivar is a male plant and is generally grown only as a pollinator for certain female winterberry cultivars (e.g., I. verticillata 'Red Sprite'). One 'Jim Dandy' will generally be sufficient for pollinating 9-10 female plants. Prune to shape in early spring just before new growth begins.

Noteworthy Characteristics

This male, deciduous winterberry cultivar is a dwarf, upright, rounded, slow-growing shrub which typically grows 3-6' (less frequently to 8') tall. Glossy dark green leaves turn a somewhat undistinguished purplish green to yellow in autumn. The whitish flowers are relatively inconspicuous, but appear over an extended bloom period, making it a good pollinator for other winterberries. Female winterberries, as the common name suggests, produce profuse red berries which often persist throughout the winter unless consumed by local bird populations.


No serious disease or insect problems. Occasional problems include leaf spots and powdery mildew. Susceptible to chlorosis in high pH (alkaline) soils.

Garden Uses

This non-fruiting, male winterberry is primarily used as a pollinator. Males and females together have year-round interest and make excellent masses or groupings for shrub borders, foundations or accents. Also an effective low hedge. Excellent shrub for wet soils such as low spots or along streams or ponds.