For most people, the American Holly is one of the first plants that people think about when it comes to winter color in the landscape. The glossy leaves and bright red berries are good for background color and massing, and automatically make one think about winter holidays.
The decidous holly is also a good choice for winter color, but not a shrub that many people think about. Once the branches are bare of leaves, the bright red berries really stand out. The fruit lasts through winter and will be a favorite food of returning spring birds.
Deciduous hollies do best when they grow in moist to wet soil that’s high in organic matter. They grow in full sun to partial shade and look best in masses.
Only female hollies will bear fruit, and most hollies, whether evergreen or deciduous, will require a male holly to provide pollen. In some cases, the pollen doesn’t have to be from the same species of holly. Though there are species that set fruit without a male, the resulting berries have sterile seeds.
You can easily find reference material online for your own species, but assume a male is necessary to get berries.
These photos were taken in the parking lot of the Blacksburg Motor Works if you want to check out what the shrubs look like in winter.