19 April 2024

Best Tips for growing Inkberry Holly plants

Inkberry Holly plants

There are thousands of plants in the world. Some are harmful, some are not, and others are for decorating homes. If we talk about inkberry holly, it is a slow-growing broadleaf evergreen shrub with a rounded-to-upright growth habit. It provides a good winter colour. It is easy to grow and look after.

It is also known for gallberry and Appalachian tea. Its botanical name is Ilex glabra. It belongs to the Aquifoliaceae family. It is a shrub and the size of it is 5-10 ft. tall and 5-8 ft. wide. It needs soil like Moist, well-drained clay. It blooms in spring. The colour of the flower is white. It is found in North America. It is a harmful plant for people and pets.

The name is a clearing reference to the dark fruits. It is also called “gallberry.” This name is taken from black ink. It used to be made from the galls of oaks.

Glabra means “smooth. It is referring to the plant’s soft leaves. These leaves are quite different from the prickly leaves. The berries and leaves are toxic qualities to both humans and pets.

Inkberry Holly Care

There are two types of plants: male and female plants. If you want to produce the berry fruits, Female plants need a male pollinator. A single male plant is usually all that is required.

It is a popular choice for damp soil areas. You can find wet soil in woodland gardens and plantings. You can plant around bogs and ponds. It needs full light and moist soil. This shrub has glossy dark green oval-shaped leaves and greenish-white flowers that bloom in May and June. These peas-sized black fruits mature early and fall.

This shrub works well and is used in foundation plantings or for low, informal hedges. This shrub is best for moist locations, for example, woodland gardens around landscape ponds and water features. This shrub is an excellent native substitute for boxwood and privet hedges.

Bees like flowers. It gives unique. These shrubs are planted for food; for example, wild birds are drawn to inkberry. This shrub is resistant to deer and is an excellent choice to produce these in areas where browsing deer is a problem for other shrubs.


This shrub needs full sun.

It needs sunlight, especially in cooler climates. It can tolerate for some days recommended warm areas.


It is planted in average, medium to wet soils and full sun to partly shade. It can be grown in both light and heavy soils. But, it is best for rich, consistently moist, acidic soils. It could be better for alkaline soils. We recommended sandy, acidic woodland soils, and You can see them along the edges of swamps and bogs.


It needs quite a bit of water. You will have to water once in a week. If the weather is dry, you will have to look after it.

Temperature and Humidity

It needs a wet, cool climate. There are some hollies which can survive in drier locations.


You can fertilize this spring with a fertilizer such as Holly-Tone. This plant is suitable for fertilization.

How many types of Inkberry Holly?

There are a few types of inkberry shrubs, which are given below.

‘Densa’ This plant grows to 6 feet in height with a slightly greater width.

‘Compacta’ This shrub grows to 3 to 4 feet in height with a spread of up to 6 feet. It also has tighter and more rounded growth habits than other forms.

‘Shamrock’ This shrub grows to 4 to 5 feet in height and width. It is known to sucker less than other varieties because it has bright green foliage.

‘Nigra’ This shrub grows to 6 to 10 feet in height and width, and it has dark green foliage.

‘Nordic’ is a shrub that grows to 3 to 4 feet in height and width and has dark green foliage. It also has a distinct broad pyramidal growth habit. It has larger leaves than other varieties.


This shrub holds up well, especially during the winter months. There are some species whose leaves turn into a deep purplish colour in the winter.

Common Pests and Diseases

Inkberry holly plant is an easy-to-grow plant as compared to other plants. Few severe insect or disease problems come with it. It is deer-resistant. Often, you will find a Leaf spot. It is a big problem. Sometimes, you will find Spider mites in dry conditions. You will see Powdery mildew and fungi in warm and humid environments. These things can be solved with a fungicide or neem oil treatment. This shrub can also be susceptible to chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves), which happens when you plant it in high-pH alkaline soil.


It should be done just after blooming or later in winter. It blooms on old wood. You only need pruning if you use the shrubs in a hedge. Maybe you will have to sacrifice flowers and fruit if you wait too long to prune. It would help if you waited till it blooms to prune the plant. You should remove root suckers regularly. Do this if you do not want the shrubs to colonize and spread.

Propagating Inkberry Holly

You can also slow the pace of growth by removing the suckers each year. It can also be planted in other

areas of your yard if you’d like.

You can propagate if you want to do so. You have to cut it.

If you want a healthy branch, you should cut off a 6-inch piece for better growth.

It would help if you cut the end into a rooting compound powder or gel.

You should select the new spot for your new plant and push the cut end into the soil. You should provide at least 1 inch of deep water. Keep the soil moist but very much; otherwise, it will harm your shrub.

You can also put your cutting root into the water; it will take almost four weeks. Then, you can plant it in its desired location.

How long does inkberry holly live?

This plant can live for 40 years or more. There are some holly plants that can serve for almost 100 years.

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