The Revolutionary Gardens Shop
Compact Inkberry Holly | Ilex glabra 'Compacta'
Inkberry holly is native to much of the Eastern US. Compact Inkberry Holly (Ilex glabra 'Compacta') is what is called a "nativar" - that is, a cultivar of a native plant.*
Compact Inkberry Holly is an extremely versatile plant. We've planted it in full sun, we've planted it in part shade that's getting awfully close to full shade. It also tolerates wet feet. There aren't a lot of evergreens that will tolerate wet soil areas, which makes inkberry a great plant to keep in your toolbox. It's sometimes suggested as a sub for boxwood, but that gets a "yeahhhh but..." from me. If you're ok with a less formal, slightly lumpy/flowing hedge, Compact Inkberry Holly is a solid choice. If you want something to keep clipped and sheared super tight, though? You're going to be disappointed, my friend.
Berries: dark blue/purple but needs a male ('Compacta' is always female)
Height: 3-4 ft
Width: 4-6 ft
Plant in full sun to part shade, will tolerate a good bit of shade but starts getting woody
* = Some experts have concerns about nativars, but research is in the early stages and it looks like some nativars are actually beneficial! There's a terrific podcast about it with the amazing Dr. Doug Tallamy here.
I mention the nativar thing because I do have Compact Inkberry Holly cross-listed in my Virginia native plants collection. The fact is, getting a straight Ilex glabra is hard to do. Most of my vendors have gotten away from them because they don't perform as well in the home landscape as the cultivars do.