fbpx skip to Main Content

Inkberry Holly is Native AND Evergreen

Ilex glabra ShamrockA darn nice alternative to boxwood is the equally tough and hardy inkberry holly (Ilex glabra). Here you see the increasingly popular short variety ‘Shamrock’,

It’s indigenous from Nova Scotia to Florida and west to Mississippi.


  • Prefers wet soils.
  • Full sun to moderate shade.
  • Grows to 6-8′ x 8-10′, with ‘Shamrock’ reaching only 5′ .
  • Hardy to Zones 4-9.


  • Because it’s listed as preferring wet soils, I keep mine watered during periods of drought.
  • Inkberries can become leggy with age, as they lose leaves on the lower stems.  The dwarf ‘Shamrock’ is less prone to legginess but still benefits from a bit of renewal pruning to reduce the height and maintain bushiness after it’s reached its full size. This can be accomplished by cutting back to 8-12 inches from the ground in March, or by shearing to reduce overall size.

by Susan Harris

Photo by Miri Talabac.

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back To Top