The Ilex Verticillata ‘Winter Gold’ (Winter Gold Winterberry) Full Care Guide

The Winter Gold Winterberry, otherwise known as the Ilex Verticillata ‘Winter Gold’ or Winterberry ‘Winter Gold’, Black Alder ‘Winter Gold’, Feverbark ‘Winter Gold’, Swamp Winterberry ‘Winter Gold’, is a rather well known shrub plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and slow growth, this shrub will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, taking care of your Winter Gold Winterberry is not too difficult – as long as you follow our guidelines in this Winter Gold Winterberry Care Guide. Now let’s get started.

The fundamental caring guidelines for every Winter Gold Winterberry can be summed up into the following:

  • Water: The Winter Gold Winterberry loves moist soil but will still survive dusty soil when it is established.
  • Light: Keep your Ilex Verticillata ‘Winter Gold’ in an environment where it can receive partial to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Winter Gold Winterberry in soil with moist but well-draining to poorly draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of loam and clay.

And as with many other plants, these are the only three care factors you need to remember to make sure your Winter Gold Winterberry is, for the most part, healthy and well to survive.

Winter Gold Winterberry dry leaves

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Winter Gold Winterberry belongs to the Aquifoliaceae family, the genus Ilex and the species Verticillata, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Ilex Verticillata ‘Winter Gold’ (EYE-leks ver-tiss-ih-LAY-tuh).

Other popular Aquifoliaceae plants include species like Gallberry ‘Shamrock’, Red Sprite Winterberry, Ilex Crenata ‘Hoogendorn’, Little Gem Candytuft, Ilex Verticillata, Hypericum Reptans and Sky Pencil Japanese Holly.

As with other Ilex’s, the Winter Gold Winterberry is a deciduous plant, which means it will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

Growing Region

You might be wondering why your Winter Gold Winterberry’s native region is important. Well, if you know where your plant originally came from, you’ll know which environment conditions it prefers, and with it, knowledge on how to replicate it at home.

With this in mind, the Ilex Verticillata ‘Winter Gold’ will be most used to the heat zones in the 5 – 8 region, and in climate zones that range between 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, A2, A3.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Winter Gold Winterberry is a relatively slow grower, which makes things easy for any plant enthusiast.


But what exactly does this mean for your Winter Gold Winterberry? How large a pot should you consider, how tall, how wide can it get? Let’s jump in…

The Ilex Verticillata ‘Winter Gold’ can grow up to 5′ – 8′ (150cm – 240cm) in 5′ – 8′ (150cm – 240cm) and 5′ – 8′ (150cm – 240cm) in 5′ – 8′ (150cm – 240cm). 

These dimensions make the Winter Gold Winterberry a relatively large shrub compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful rounded shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 60″ – 96″ (150cm – 240cm) free so the Winter Gold Winterberry can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Winter Gold Winterberry is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Ilex Verticillata ‘Winter Gold’ loves moist soil but will still survive dusty soil when it is established.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

Winter Gold Winterberry care


As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Winter Gold Winterberry in soil with moist but well-draining to poorly draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has moist properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

However, in our experience, the best solution to knowing the right amount of water for your Winter Gold Winterberry is with the ‘thumb’ technique. Basically, you insert your finger into the soil, and based if you feel the soil moist or dry, you determine if it needs any water, which is the most appropriate way to go about watering your leafy friend.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Winter Gold Winterberry prefers to have soil with moist properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of loam and clay.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably neutral to acid soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Winter Gold Winterberry requires partial to full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this shrub will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Ilex Verticillata ‘Winter Gold’ in 


Being a deciduous plant, the Winter Gold Winterberry will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (early, late), the summer (early, mid, late), the fall, and during the winter.


You can expect your Winter Gold Winterberry to flower around the spring and in the summer months from April to June (spring), and from July to September (summer).

The Winter Gold Winterberry produces some beautiful white, or green, gold/yellow and white flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Winter Gold Winterberry have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

You can expect the leaves from your Ilex Verticillata ‘Winter Gold’ to be around (1-3 inches) in size.

Winter Gold Winterberry no leaves

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Winter Gold Winterberry is well known for being able to attract birds, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for clay soil and wet soil, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Ilex Verticillata ‘Winter Gold’ will be fine.


Does your Winter Gold Winterberry have any garden recommendations? Does it serve any gardening purposes? Here’s how you can get the most out of your new plant.

Most Ilex Verticillata ‘Winter Gold’ owners agree that this shrub will look great in most cottage, asian/zen contemporary, and rustic gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage styles. 

In particular, the Winter Gold Winterberry’s best location within your garden is in hedges and screens, banks and slopes, beds and borders, and in ponds and streams, others use it for landscaping in a firescaping/fire wise, urban garden, very wet areas, barrier, privacy screen, wildlife garden, mass planting, hedge, specimen, or a woodland garden.

Companion Plants

Winter Gold Winterberry’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Paeonia, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Pieris will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!


So that’s it! These are the main plant care requirements that you need to keep in mind in order to have a healthy Winter Gold Winterberry in your garden or home.

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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