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The Plant Guide

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Ilex glabra

EYE-leks GLAB-rah Audio

The inkberry holly has narrow, glossy, spineless leaves and tiny black fruits. The narrow foliage produces a much finer texture than that of many other hollies. A slow-growing, evergreen shrub native to eastern North America, it produces greenish white, inconspicuous flowers in spring, followed by jet black drupes the size of peas. The fruit can persist until the next spring unless eaten by birds. Ilex glabra is rather more casual in form than the spinier hollies and can be used in borders, around ponds, as foundation plantings, or in woodland gardens.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsNative to the eastern United States. Evergreen, spineless foliage. Black fruit is consumed by birds.

CareMoist but well-drained, organically rich soil in full sun. Plant or transplant in spring. Pruning, if any, should be done in late winter or early spring.

PropagationSow seed in a cold frame in autumn. Ilex are slow to germinate from seed, sometimes taking several years. Take semi-ripe cuttings in summer or early fall.

ProblemsAphids may attack new growth. Scale insects, leaf miners, and Phytophthora root rot can sometimes be problems.

  • Genus : Ilex
  • Zones : 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Plant Height : 6 to 10 feet
  • Plant Width : 6 to 10 feet
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Maintenance : Moderate
  • Plant Type : Shrubs
  • Growth Rate : Slow
  • Bloom Time : Summer
  • Flower Color : White
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