'Sparkleberry' holly ...

terratoma(7a)May 9, 2013

I planted several 'Red Sprite' winterberry hollies, together with a 'Jim Dandy' pollinator, last fall. The local nursery now has 'Sparkleberry', together with the 'Apollo' pollinator. From what I've read, the 'Sparkleberry' seems to produce abundantly more, and larger, berries. The other difference is size: While the 'Red Sprite' and 'Jim Dandy' are typically 3'-4' x 3'-4', the 'Sparkleberry' and 'Apollo' are closer to 6'-10' x 6'-10'.

I'd appreciate comments regarding your experience with these plants, particularly the 'Sparkleberry' and 'Apollo' (since I haven't purchased them as yet). Now for the stupid questions. Will these hollies co-exist well? Do the sizes I list seem relatively accurate? Can they safely be planted now? (I try to plant shrubs in the early fall; however, the nursery has only a few and, based on their track record, won't order any more So it's now or never.)
Thanks
gary

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wildcatnurseryman

Everything you are saying is right on as far as plant sizes are concerned. My experience with Winterberry Hollies is pretty strong. I have handled at least 12-15 different types and the two types ('Sparkleberry' / 'Red Sprite') you are dealing with are at opposite ends of the spectrum as far as growth pattern is concerned. Sparkleberry is best to be grown as a very small multi-stemmed tree (12-15') In my dealings the berries are more abundant but smaller than the Red Sprite. The RS is exceptional in that it stays so compact and under control. It is one of the deciduous hollies that I feel free to use in a foundation planting (compliment to evergreens) because of it's habit and ultimate size. Both plants are "interesting" to "show-stopper" in the winter garden depending on the year (rain, drought, etc.). Your question about whether it is okay to have them together in the garden--it is fine. You just want to make sure you have the correct pollinator (which you do) and make sure that they stay with-in 40 feet or so of one another. Males don't create much excitement so they are best tucked away if possible.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 12:59AM
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terratoma(7a)

wildcatnurseryman

It's not everyday you can get free advice from a professional, so my hat's off to you! It's helpful to know about the realistic height of the 'Sparkleberry'. I was considering planting several, along with the 'Apollo' (tucked away as you mentioned), in front of a new 8' stockade fence with some low-growing English yew 'Repandens' in near proximity. (That has to be my favorite conifer. I don't know why you don't see more of them used.) I think the dark green needles and layered effect will be a good contrast to the 'Sparkleberry'. But the holly's height is a might too much: It will be too tall for the fence and the height contrast too much with the low-growing yew.. I've "heard" that 'Winter Red' is a bit shorter and puts on a good show. Would this be a better partner with the yew? Or is this combination_ yew and winterberry_ not as attractive as I think it might be?
gary

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 8:41AM
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wildcatnurseryman

I think you have made a good choice with the Winterberry / Repandens combo. I would prefer 'Winter Red' as well. It stays a bit smaller and has a better showing of berries from what I have seen. 'Winter Gold' stays even a bit tighter than WR if that would interest you as well. As the name implies, the berries are an orange-yellow color, but it is usually a bit more difficult to locate. You're welcome, by the way. I don't just do plants for work, they are my passion as well, so this forum is fun for me. It helps fill the void of retail nursery sales that I miss.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 7:07PM
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terratoma(7a)

Thanks wildcatnurseryman
One of the staff at the nursery I frequent promised to check on the availability of both 'Winter Red" and 'Winter Gold', although they didn't seem to be familiar with 'Gold'. (I checked for 'Winter Gold' via the Internet and ...wow! The yellow-gold-salmon color is outstanding.) Do these gold berries persist? Can I also ask how long they maintain that color? Berries on my 'Red Sprites' kept their brilliant red color until late February, when they began turning a rust-brown and "disappearing". I was sold on the red berries combined with 'Repandens' but the gold berries would be equally striking and, to my novice eye, very unique
BTW, I read that 'Apollo' and 'Southern Gentleman' could serve equally well as a pollinator for 'Winter Red/Gold'. Do you agree?
As I mentioned, 'Winter Gold' didn't seem to strike a chord when I mentioned it to the nursery people. There's another nursery (much larger in variety, healthy plants and price) which will probably have the 'Gold'. Other than the local arboretum and my back yard, it's the only place around here where, to my knowledge, you can lay eyes on 'Repandens', :o )
gary

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 6:56PM
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wildcatnurseryman

The berries persist up until Feb here as well on the WG and WR. You were also correct about the males Appolo and SG. I typically use SG because it is easier to come by for me. Glad you liked the WG. It surely has an unusual color berry, that's for sure.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 4:18PM
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terratoma(7a)

wildcatnurseryman
Thanks for the info. I paid a visit to my usual nursery yesterday because they get all new arrivals on Fridays. They're still unfamiliar with WG and don't seem to be interested in it. I have no problem with that; they can't be expected to order a plant for just one customer. Same for the SG. On the other hand,they indicated that they might be able to get the 'Winter Red' if I would "place an order". In the meantime, I'm off to that "other" nursery today (hopefully).. They just might have all that we've discussed.
Thanks for sharing your experience!
gary

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 7:19AM
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