Shamrock Inkberry Holly

Ilex glabra 'Shamrock'

Family: Holly

Type: Shrub

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Shamrock Inkberry Holly, scientifically known as Ilex glabra ‘Shamrock’, is a dense, evergreen shrub. It is valued for its rich green foliage and compact, rounded form.

This variety is distinguished by its small, glossy leaves and a tendency to maintain a fuller, more uniform shape than other inkberries. It’s an excellent choice for creating a consistent, low-maintenance hedge or border.

Shamrock Inkberry Holly thrives in full sun to partial shade and is hardy in zones 5-9. It prefers acidic, well-draining soil and is tolerant of wet conditions, making it versatile for various landscape settings.

Needs & Preferences

Hardiness Zone: 5a-4a

Pet Friendly: Yes

Moisture Preference: Moist to wet

Sun Needs: Full sun to partial shade


Growth Rate: Slow

Average Height (feet): 4

Average Spread (feet): 4

Average Life Span (years): 40

Form: Oval


Foliage Color: Green

Foliage Shape: Narrow

Bark Color: Gray

Bark Texture: Smooth

Landscaping Your Yard With Shamrock Inkberry Holly

Incorporating Shamrock Inkberry Holly into your landscape design offers a lush, evergreen backdrop. Its dense foliage provides year-round interest and texture.

This shrub is perfect for creating formal hedges, foundation plantings, or as a natural screen. Its adaptability to pruning makes it suitable for topiary or more structured garden designs.

Despite its formal appearance, Shamrock Inkberry Holly is relatively low maintenance. It’s a great choice for gardeners who desire an attractive, easy-care shrub.


Suitable Garden Styles

Formal Garden

In formal gardens, Shamrock Inkberry Holly can be used to create neat, precise hedges or as a structured element in garden designs. Its uniform growth habit is ideal for symmetry.

Wetland Garden

For wetland or rain gardens, this shrub is an excellent choice. It tolerates wet conditions, making it suitable for areas with moist soil.

Woodland Garden

In woodland garden settings, Shamrock Inkberry Holly adds evergreen interest. Its tolerance for shade and natural form blend well with a woodland aesthetic.

Shamrock Inkberry Holly Landscaping Ideas

Use it to form a low hedge along property lines or garden beds. Its dense growth provides a neat, clean look that borders and defines spaces.

Plant it in mass for a uniform, lush ground cover. Grouping several Shamrock Inkberries together creates an unbroken sea of green.

Combine it with flowering perennials or bulbs. Its deep green foliage provides a beautiful contrast and backdrop for colorful flowers.

Seasonal Interest


In spring, Shamrock Inkberry Holly begins to grow new leaves, enhancing its lush appearance in the garden.


During summer, the shrub maintains its deep green color. Its dense foliage provides a steady backdrop in the landscape.


In the fall, Shamrock Inkberry Holly continues to display its evergreen beauty. The plant remains unchanged, offering consistent structure in the garden.


In winter, Shamrock Inkberry Holly stands out with its evergreen leaves. Its resistance to winter burn makes it a valuable addition to the cold-season landscape.

Planting Tips

Where to Plant

Shamrock Inkberry Holly is best planted in areas with full sun to partial shade. It’s ideal for damp areas in your yard, such as near water features or in low-lying spots that retain moisture.


This plant thrives in full sun to partial shade. While it can tolerate a range of light conditions, sufficient sunlight encourages denser foliage growth.


Shamrock Inkberry Holly prefers acidic, well-draining soil. It's particularly well-suited for wet conditions, making it a versatile choice for various landscape settings.


Space Shamrock Inkberry Holly plants about 3 to 4 feet apart. This spacing allows each plant enough room to grow while maintaining its dense, rounded form.

When to Plant

The best time to plant is in the spring or early fall. Cooler temperatures during these periods are ideal for root establishment.

How to Plant

Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and twice as wide. Place the plant in the hole, backfill with soil, and water thoroughly. Ensure the plant is level with the surrounding ground.

Plant Care Tips


Regular watering is important, especially in dry conditions and during the first growing season. Once established, Shamrock Inkberry Holly is quite tolerant of wet conditions.


Fertilize in early spring with an acid-forming fertilizer to encourage vibrant growth and maintain soil acidity.


Minimal pruning is needed. If desired, prune in late winter or early spring to shape the plant or control its size.

By Season


Spring Care

In spring, apply a fresh layer of mulch and start regular watering and fertilizing as new growth appears.

Summer Care

Maintain moisture during summer, especially in dry periods. Monitor for pests and diseases, treating as necessary.

Fall Care

Reduce watering in the fall as the plant begins to go dormant. Prepare the plant for winter by cleaning up any fallen leaves.

Winter Care

Shamrock Inkberry Holly is hardy in winter. Ensure it's well-mulched to protect the roots in colder climates.


How Big Does Shamrock Inkberry Holly Grow?

Shamrock Inkberry Holly typically reaches about 3-4 feet in height and width, forming a compact, rounded shape.

Is Shamrock Inkberry Holly Deer Resistant?

While no plant is completely deer-proof, Shamrock Inkberry Holly is relatively deer-resistant and less likely to be damaged compared to other shrubs.

Can Shamrock Inkberry Holly Be Used as a Hedge?

Yes, Shamrock Inkberry Holly is excellent for hedges due to its dense growth and tolerance for pruning. It creates a neat, evergreen boundary.

Products That Feature This Plant

Classic Beauty
Marsh Madness

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