Winterberry pollination question

basilno(4)July 16, 2014

If I put a winterberry pair on opposite corners of the house can the pollen get around the house?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

anyone who tells you yes .. with no reservation is an optimist ...

it may.. it might not.. who knows.. until you try it ...


ps: one might start the determination by thinking about prevailing wind patterns.. how they wrap around the house.. and which one to plant upwind ... if that matters... there are simply so many variables... only you will be able to find out.. and that will be by trying...

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 12:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hmm- doesn't sound like a great idea.
Are the male plants attractive (in terms of foliage etc)? Are they nice enough to be showcased in the front of the house with the female?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 8:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
viburnumvalley(z5/6 KY)

Well, let me be the first to plant The Optimist Flag squarely onto ken's dubious gauntlet.

I can spout arrogantly, boisterously, and imperturbably upon this because...

...Ilex sp. are not wind-pollinated, but insect pollinated. If you have bees, bugs, flies, wasps, and other winged critters that appreciate a good buzz upon some Holly pollen, you are going to be a successful grower of these plants.

More important than proximity is that you have selected appropriate partners in this endeavor. Tell us which selections of Winterberry Holly that you've purchased. If you do not have a male flowered and a female flowered plant with overlapping bloom times, all the pollinating insects in the world won't make fruit for you.

Male plants' foliage looks exactly like female plants' foliage - give or take an RHS color chart grade or so - so appearance when in leaf should not be an issue. In fact, the male plant's leaves will likely be darker green as the female plant starts to use nutrients to mature the fruit. This is quite common, and can be overcome with some nitrogen fertilizer application in a timely manner.

Since Winterberry Holly is deciduous, you won't have a comparison to make after leaf drop - just ample time to appreciate a fine fruit show for fall and winter on your female plant.

You'll wonder why you didn't plant more for your zone 4 landscape.

I often ponder what makes some participants here tick - and if any perusal of information is sought before posting. If indeed wind-pollination were an issue with any plant, it isn't a huge leap to presume the pollen better be blown off the male constituent flowers and travel to the receptive female parts.

Anyhoo...if anyone has any doubt about the veracity of any of this - and would like to meet hundreds of individuals who love "to know and grow more holly" - take a gander at the website of the Holly Society of America. You'll be glad you did.

Here is a link that might be useful: Holly Society of America home page

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 9:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We don't yet possess any winterberry. We had some house renovations done that left a landscaping gap where a small porch used to be and I'm trying to figure out what to put there. I'd prefer not to put in two of the same thing, hence the question about whether the male can go somewhere else. But if the male is relatively attractive we could consider 2 plants (it's in front of the house). (I'm aware of the need to match the male-female and was considering winter red and southern gent.). Any thoughts on the relative merits of viburnum vs winterberry??

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 1:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
viburnumvalley(z5/6 KY)


As current president of Holly Society of America - and with my long time screen name here - you have put me squarely in a box.

I like both genera immensely. Your landscape, climatic requirements, and personal preferences need to be the deciding factors.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 11:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

I'm not in favor of a deciduous plants doing foundation plant duty. After all, the purpose of foundation plants is to hide the foundation and make the house blend into the landscape. A deciduous plant in front of the foundation looks like a missing tooth all winter long.
Out in the landscape, small deciduous trees and shrubs should at least have an evergreen groundcover to anchor the landscape in winter.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 9:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
viburnumvalley(z5/6 KY)

I laugh loudly at your suggestion, Mike - and all in good fun of course.

You speak like a true zone 8er, where broadleaf evergreens leap and frolic in the benign surrounds of the Puget Sound and general Pacific northwest climatic passivity. The subject of our discussion apparently resides in zone 4 - not the home to a plethora of broadleaf evergreens, though certainly coniferous choices can be happy there. Winters can be brutal to all ranges of flora, but especially so to those plants which retain live foliage.

As a landscape architect, I'll also call you out about the presumptive statement that foundation plants must hide the foundation. If you had a handsome house made of patterned brick, marble, cut stone, or - perish the thought - all heart western redcedar - would you be so quick to cover it up?

The term "foundation plantings" is almost an archaic term which dates back to an era of construction where cheaply constructed structures brought the cement block "foundation walls" up above grade, and then built the more attractive walls of the structure above that. Shrubs were used in a utilitarian fashion to cover up the cement block, which was sometimes "exposed" up to five feet high.

Today, that's a relatively rare condition, but not altogether gone. Much more, houses are built with all the attractive exterior elements dressed to ground level - negating the need for foundation, base, makeup, blush, powder, or any other cosmetic requirement from plants.

You can plant what you want, where you want - suit yourself. In fact, a deciduous plant that provides a long berry-laden show through winter months is a stellar choice for light colored exterior treatments of homes. If I had a house clad in white or cream siding (which could include other materials like light toned sandstone or gray limestone), plants like Winterberry Holly - with bright red fruit sparkling in the most wanton fashion - would be the absolute talk of the town!

This is not a new idea. I - long ago - worked for an enterprise that had limestone veneer on the walls of their buildings. I personally planted hundreds of 'Winter Red' winterberry holly as masses gracing the front of these buildings. After each winter snowfall, shutterbugs could not engorge themselves with enough images.

So, basilno: grace us with some images of the sites where you are making these decisions. We can talk about plants till the bovines return to domiciles, and we can talk about the relative merits of generational design choices accordant with architectural styles - all with no real meaning unless we know a bit more about what you will be living with, AND WHERE YOU LIVE.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 12:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

Well written and very informative viburnumvalley.
Yeah, I'm a Zone 8er, where broadleaf evergreens leap and frolic and that has influenced my answer a bit. :-)
Foundation beds are usually too narrow and straight, and when there's a gap, it's really noticeable. If the beds are wider, curved, and not continuous, the effect is much better.
I've always wondered why brick chimneys are almost always covered by plants. Even well done decorative ones. Some, even with vines!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
viburnumvalley(z5/6 KY)

You are speaking my language, Mike. Nature abhors a straight line, as apparently do you.

We want pics...we want pics...we want pics...

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:47PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Loropetalum issue
Hi- I'm posting again about another shrub at our new...
Coppicing Red Twig Dogwood Best Method?
Do you cut all of your red twig dogwood stems down...
Wax Myrtle leaves browning & spotting
I've got several wax myrtles in my back yard. A few...
Mixing Lilacs
I have a large section of yard that is filled with...
County Extension/Horticulture agents
Folks, many of us here make frequent recommendations...
Sponsored Products
Pfaltzgraff Winterberry Cooler - Set of 4 - 109G0200
$24.99 | Hayneedle
Titan Lighting Chandeliers Winterberry 4-Light Ceiling-Mount Antique Darkwood
Home Depot
Titan Lighting Wall Mounted Lighting & Sconces Winterberry 2-Light Antique
Home Depot
Hillsdale Winterberry Upholstered Daybed - 1274DB
$579.99 | Hayneedle
Pfaltzgraff Winterberry Star Shaped Sharing Plate - 5083857
$19.99 | Hayneedle
Pfaltzgraff Winterberry Dinner Plates - Set of 4 - 5073306
$24.99 | Hayneedle
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™