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Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Adaptable to both light and heavy soils, but prefers moist, acidic, organic loams. Good tolerance for wet conditions (the species is native to swampy areas in Eastern North America). Winterberries are dioecious (separate male and female plants). ‘Afterglow’ is a female cultivar which needs a male pollinator to produce the attractive red berries which are the signature of the winterberries. One male winterberry (I. verticillata ‘Jim Dandy’ is a preferred selection) will be sufficient for pollinating 6-8 female shrubs. Prune to shape in early spring just before new growth appears.
‘Afterglow’ is a female winterberry that typically matures to 3-6 feet tall and as wide. It is a compact selection that is smaller and denser than most other winterberry cultivars. It is noted for its dense, heavy fruiting of orange-red berries, with good retention of the fruit throughout winter. This is a slow-growing, deciduous, multi-stemmed, suckering shrub with an upright-rounded habit. Lustrous dark green leaves (to 3 inches long) turn yellow-bronze in fall. Relatively inconspicuous greenish-white flowers appear in the leaf axils in late spring. Flowers, if properly pollinated, give way to a profuse crop of bright, orange-red berries (3/8 inch diameter) in fall. Showy berries will persist throughout the winter (hence the common name) and often to early spring. Berries provide considerable impact and interest to the winter landscape. Berries are a food source for birds. Zones 3 to 9.