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Mr. Poppins® Winterberry

Ilex verticillata

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Mr. Poppins® Winterberry

Discover More Information On Mr. Poppins® Winterberry

Introducing the Mr. Poppins® Winterberry (Ilex verticillata), a compact and resilient shrub that offers a unique charm to any landscape. With its ability to thrive in a range of hardy zones from 3 to 9, Mr. Poppins® is an adaptable and versatile plant that can handle the coldest of winters and still maintain its allure.

Perfectly suited for part sun to full sun exposures, this particular winterberry shines throughout the year, requiring at least four to six hours of sunlight to achieve its full potential. In spring and summer, it’s the subtle white flowers that draw the eye, hinting at the arrival of vibrant berries in the winter months. Though it won’t be the bearer of berries itself, being a male cultivar, it plays a crucial role in pollinating female winterberry hollies such as Berry Poppins® or any other Proven Winners® variety. A single Mr. Poppins® plant can support up to five female plants, ensuring a bountiful display of berries within a 50-foot radius.

Plant Attributes

Mr. Poppins® Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) distinguishes itself with an array of appealing attributes that make it a worthy addition to diverse landscapes. This deciduous shrub, with its medium stature, reaches a garden height and spread of 3 to 4 feet, creating a balanced, upright silhouette. The plant's foliage is a vibrant green, which serves as a lush backdrop for its white flowers during the bloom season in spring and summer. As a compact male cultivar, Mr. Poppins® doesn't bear fruit but is indispensable as a pollinator for female winterberry hollies, enhancing their berry production.

Adapted to a broad spectrum of climates, Mr. Poppins® is robust across USDA Hardiness Zones 3 through 9, showing exceptional winter hardiness. It thrives in both part sun and full sun settings, requiring a range of 4 to 6 hours of sunlight daily to flourish. The plant's ease of maintenance is a significant advantage, needing little more than the right planting location and occasional pruning of old branches to encourage vigorous growth.

Landscape Use

The Mr. Poppins® Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) is an exceptionally versatile shrub when it comes to landscaping uses. Here are some of the primary ways it can be utilized within a garden or landscape setting:

  • Pollinator Plant: As a male variety, Mr. Poppins® is an essential pollinator for female winterberry hollies. It should be planted within 50 feet of female plants to ensure successful pollination and berry production.
  • Foundation Planting: Its moderate size and neat, upright growth habit make it ideal for foundation plantings where it will not overpower the space.
  • Wet Soil Sites: This shrub excels in wet areas where other plants may struggle, making it perfect for planting in rain gardens, alongside ponds, or in other saturated areas.
  • Wildlife Garden: Although it is a male plant and does not produce berries, its flowers attract pollinators, and it contributes to the ecosystem as a whole, supporting wildlife gardens.
  • Naturalistic and Woodland Gardens: Its native status and tolerance of wet soils make Mr. Poppins® a natural fit for woodland and naturalistic garden settings.
  • Screening: While not a large shrub, it can provide a green backdrop during the growing season or act as a subtle screen in a mixed shrub border.
  • Mass Planting: For a cohesive look, mass plant Mr. Poppins® with female winterberry hollies to create a winter interest with abundant berry displays.
  • Mixed Shrub Borders: Blend Mr. Poppins® with other shrubs, perennials, and grasses that appreciate wet conditions for a varied and textural display.
  • Container Gardens: Though it's not the typical container plant, Mr. Poppins® can be used as a 'thriller' element in large container arrangements, especially in settings where changing seasonal interest is desired.
  • Specimen Plant: In smaller gardens, it can stand alone as a specimen plant, especially when strategic placement near female plants is necessary for pollination purposes.

Incorporating Mr. Poppins® Winterberry into the landscape not only adds beauty and structure but also ensures the health and productivity of other winterberry hollies, thereby enhancing the overall biodiversity of the garden ecosystem.

Planting & Care

Mr. Poppins® Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) is a resilient and relatively low-maintenance plant that can thrive in a variety of conditions with the proper care. Here are some guidelines for planting and caring for your Mr. Poppins® Winterberry:

Planting Instructions:

  • Site Selection: Choose a location that gets full sun to part sun, which means at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.
  • Soil Requirements: This winterberry prefers acidic, moist, well-drained soil. It’s adaptable to both light and heavy soils and is quite tolerant of wet conditions.
  • Spacing: Plant Mr. Poppins® Winterberry shrubs about 3 to 4 feet apart to allow for their mature spread. If planting for pollination, ensure it is within 50 feet of female winterberry hollies.
  • Planting Depth: Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and two to three times as wide. Set the plant in the hole so that the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Backfill with soil and water thoroughly.

Care Information:

  • Watering: Water the plant regularly to keep the soil moist, especially in the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Once established, they can tolerate some wet conditions.
  • Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to retain soil moisture and regulate soil temperature.
  • Fertilizing: Feed with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer formulated for trees and shrubs in early spring.
  • Pruning: Pruning is generally not necessary for Mr. Poppins® Winterberry. If you do need to prune for shaping or to remove dead wood, do so in early spring before new growth begins.
  • Pest and Disease Management: Generally, winterberry hollies have few serious pest or disease issues. Keep an eye out for leaf spots, mildew, or pests such as scale and treat them with appropriate fungicides or insecticides as necessary.
  • Winter Care: Although winter hardy, consider applying extra mulch around the root zone before winter to protect it in the coldest zones.

Important Notes:

  • Mr. Poppins® is a male variety and does not produce berries. It serves as a pollinator for female winterberry hollies.
  • One male plant can pollinate up to five female plants.
  • Avoid pruning winterberry hollies heavily as it can reduce the number of flowers and, consequently, the potential berry production on nearby female plants.

Following these planting and care steps will help ensure your Mr. Poppins® Winterberry grows healthy and provides the necessary support for a bountiful berry display on female winterberry hollies in your garden.

Additional Information

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Mr. Poppins® Winterberry


Plant Features

  • Plant Type: Shrub
  • Watering Needs: Adaptable to wet soils; less frequent once established, but can tolerate moist conditions.
  • Botanical Pronunciation: I-lex ver-ti-si-LA-ta
  • Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Average Landscape Size: Mature size is 3-4 feet in height and spread.
  • Special Features:
  • Compact size
  • Easy to care for
  • Tolerant of wet soil conditions
  • Native to North America
  • Ideal as a pollinator for certain female winterberry hollies
  • Deer resistant
  • Foliage Color: Green
  • Blooms: Spring to Summer
  • Flower Color: White
  • Flower Attributes: Inconspicuous; provides essential pollination for female plants
  • Garden Style:
  • Native and naturalistic gardens
  • Traditional
  • Cottage
  • Design Ideas:
  • Use as a background plant in mixed borders
  • Situate within a mass planting for a naturalistic or woodland garden
  • Plant as a solitary specimen in smaller gardens or residential landscapes
  • Effective when planted inconspicuously near female winterberry hollies for pollination
  • Companion Plants:
  • Berry Poppins® Winterberry
  • Other Proven Winners® female winterberry hollies
  • Perennials and grasses that thrive in wet conditions


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