Ilex glabra 'Compacta'

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 3 Professionals
Common Name: inkberry
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Aquifoliaceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Rain Garden
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Evergreen
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Erosion, Wet Soil, Air Pollution


Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Adaptable to both light and heavy soils. Prefers rich, constantly moist, acidic soils in full sun. Good shade tolerance, however. Inkberries are dioecious (separate male and female plants). This cultivar is a female plant and needs a male pollinator in order to produce the jet black berries characteristic of the cultivar. Prune to shape in early spring just before new growth begins. Needs minimal pruning as a hedge, but may be sheared regularly to form a lower growing hedge.

Noteworthy Characteristics

This female inkberry cultivar is an evergreen, stoloniferous, slow-growing, compact shrub with a tight, oval to rounded habit, and typically grows 3-4' tall and 4-6' wide. Thick, spineless, dark green leaves fade to olive green in winter. Whitish flowers appear in spring, but are relatively inconspicuous. Female flowers give way to jet black inkberries which mature in early fall and persist through the winter to early spring unless consumed by local bird populations.


No serious disease or insect problems. Occasional problems with leaf spot. Susceptible to chlorosis in high pH (alkaline) soils.

Garden Uses

Mass or group. Excellent for shrub borders, foundation plantings or hedges. Also effective in moist woodland gardens or in moist locations near ponds or streams.