Ilex verticillata 'Southern Gentleman' (Male Winterberry)
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An extremely hardy late-blooming male holly with dense, rich green foliage on an upright, rounded form. It does not set fruit but serves as an excellent pollenizer for late-flowering female southern hollies, such as Sparkleberry, Winter Red, and Winter Gold. Plant one male for every five female plants. A wonderful background shrub. Deciduous.
Ilex verticillata 'Southern Gentleman' is a popular male winterberry holly cultivar that functions as a late-season male pollinator for female Ilex verticillata cultivars like 'Winter Red' and 'Winter Gold', or any other cultivar with summer blooms, when placed within 50'. Though it will not bear fruit itself, this cultivar's inconspicuous white flowers play a crucial role in getting the best results from the female varieties.
Noted for its attractive summer foliage rather than fall and winter berries, as well as its hardiness, 'Southern Gentleman' has deciduous, glossy green ovular foliage without the harsh spines of some holly species, and begins to lose its leaves after the first fall. This cultivar prefers medium to medium-wet soils and full sun to part-shade conditions; 'Southern Gentleman' is not picky about soil consistency, and will tolerate heavy, clay soils, and requires a decent bit of water as it grows to a mature size of six to eight feet tall and wide. Ilex verticillata 'Southern Gentleman' has good resistance to deer and rabbit damage, and its inconspicuous and rather plain appearance allows for a lot of versatility in the landscape.