Ilex glabra (common name Inkberry) is one of those shrubs I just loved to grow on my old nursery and have regretted not having in my current garden.
It’s a native shrub hardy to USDA zone 5-ish and you really need a damp soil to grow it properly.
In our area, the native plants grew right on the edges or just inside the water line of swamps. 4-8 feet tall, rounded habit in full sun or part shade.
In somewhat warmer climates than a USDA 4, it can be evergreen although the leaves will develop a bronze tone for the winter. You might try it if you can water it adequately and give it a slightly acidic soil (again, my limestone based soil isn’t going to be the best here). 🙁
Breeders have been working on this tall shrub or small tree and the flowering and more importantly the fruiting has increased tremendously.
The University of Maine did some research on hardiness:
- Least hardy were ‘Nigra’, and ‘Viridis’
- Most hardy were ‘Cham- zin’, ‘Compacta’, ‘Densa’, ‘Nova Scotia’, ‘Pretty Boy’, ‘Pretty Girl’, and ‘Shamrock’.
Now you know which ones to look for – and I’m thinking I do have one small “wet spot” that might keep it happy during a normal season with supplemental watering in a dry year. 🙂