Inkberry

gingerhill(7 LI NY)May 20, 2003

Hi

I was determined to plant for the birds. I brought and planted an inkberry. I read so many different facts about this bush. Please tell me, how big does it get? Is it a slow grower? Sun or shade? Please tell me anything positive or negative.

Thank you so very much. :)

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

It can get to about 6', at least it does around here, but by the time it gets that tall it is VERY leggy. It looks much better when it is regularly pruned low. Pruning keeps it thick, flowering heavily, and making a lot of berries for wildlife.
Of course, I'm in southeast Mississippi. Your location might make a difference.
Sherry

    Bookmark   May 21, 2003 at 9:47AM
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Melissa_InTheWoods(z7a MD)

Hello!

I have my inkberries in the shade. I've seen them growing in full sun though too. I think they do well in most places though they do need some moisture.

There are male and female inkberries, so it's best to find out what kind you purchased and if you can find a suitable "mate". Male flowers are borne in clusters, whereas females are solitary. Most of the inkberries that I've seen in stores are females. You might need to shop around or ask a friend who has one if they have a male and if you could start a cutting from it.

I had one in my yard (which I'm sure is a male) but this spring I planted 3 more (females). I like them, though mine are not very "bushy or thick". From all that I've read about them they grow 6-8 inches per year.

I think it's great that you planted something for the birds :)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2003 at 12:26PM
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gingerhill(7 LI NY)

Thank you both so much. I have to move where I planted it and now that is solved. I am so glad it doesn't require full sun.
Thanks for the compliement about planting for the birds. I have such a love for the birds that most of my plants this year had to be a benefit for them.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2003 at 1:55PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

A great source of Inkberries and other hollies, plus you can get a male if you need one.

Here is a link that might be useful: Solomon Holly Farms

    Bookmark   May 21, 2003 at 3:23PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

I just planted an Inkberry 'Princetons Compact' myself yesterday. This is supposed to be a heavy berried female clone and mine does have lots of green berries on it. I do read that they get leggy with time but now the shrub is so thick and dense, just lovely. I am wondering if there might be a male growing in the neighborhood otherwise I am going to eventually find a male.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2003 at 6:25PM
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vonyon

Great site Rita. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2003 at 7:47PM
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Jules(6 Ont)

I just purchased two inkberries (compacta) which are supposed to be female, but neither has any berries. I know it could be because the nursery didn't have any males. Does anyone know the name given to a male (ie: southern gentleman for male winterberry)? Also, does anyone know where to get the male inkberries in Ontario or Canada? Thanks. (-:

    Bookmark   August 19, 2003 at 12:50PM
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vonyon

I just noticed that the Solomon Holly Farm lists one Inkberry as simply male. I'm not sure if they will ship to you, but it may be worth calling them.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2003 at 8:37PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

I saw some new type of Inkberry at the local nursery the otherday. A truely dwarf form that only grows two feet high, fruits, and is very dense. Like like a dense green mound. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of it.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2003 at 1:29PM
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jillhudock(z7 PA)

think the dwarf one is ilex glabra compacta

    Bookmark   October 13, 2003 at 4:47PM
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Jules(6 Ont)

That's exactly what it is. I purchased two of them. However they are female. )-:
The neverending search for a male. (-:

    Bookmark   October 15, 2003 at 7:29PM
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vonyon

I have some inkberries that I found on sale in the fall at local nurseries. They weren't marked male or female at any of the places that I have seen them. One person told me that they are poisonous and so nurseries do not want the liability of selling pairs. I found this hard to believe since a lot of berries are poisonous to humans. I did find that Solomon Holly Farm does stock one that is simply labelled as male (as I said above). Now upon further research I found this site which states that you don't need a male for inkberry (it does have male pollinators next to every other holly). Does anyone know the answer to the question: do you need a male inkberry in order to get berries?

Here is a link that might be useful: Allisonville Nursery

    Bookmark   January 9, 2004 at 7:36PM
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sowngrow(TX8)

I don't know about the male/female question however, the info provided here is very informative if you've planted or are intending to plant this holly.

Here is a link that might be useful: Inkberry

    Bookmark   January 9, 2004 at 10:11PM
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sowngrow(TX8)

Here's another link with info. stating both male and female are necessary for berry production:

Here is a link that might be useful: Inkberry info.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2004 at 10:14PM
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vonyon

Thanks Sown. The first site is what I call pokeweed. That is a different plant than I am talking about. I guess they call that inkberry also. I was referring to the holly inkberry that was from the second site. I am going to guess that you need a male of the species since it is a holly and all hollies (to my knowledge are dioecious. I am waiting for a copy of Dirr's book to arrive and I guess I'll look it up there also. Thanks for the info!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2004 at 5:26PM
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gingerhill(7 LI NY)

Thanks for all the responses! :) I wasn't aware they required male/female to berry.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2004 at 9:15AM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

I am not sure how much the birds actually like Inkberries as mine still has the berries from last year.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2004 at 7:05PM
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vonyon

Rita: Do you have both a male and a female? Where did you buy yours from?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2004 at 8:32PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Sorry, vonyon, never saw this post until now. Don't know how I missed it.

I only have a female that I bought at a local nursery. If I don't see a male locally I guess I will have to mail order one in the spring. I just thought I would wait and see if it got pollinated since you never know whats growing in the neightborhood.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2004 at 1:26PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

My female never set berries this year so I guess there are no males growing in the neightborhood. So I will be looking for one next year.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2004 at 2:16PM
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vonyon

Rita: Check Solomon Holly Farm. It is the only place I have ever seen them advertised. I got a small one from there (it was pretty tiny) and it looks great after the whole summer. I just hope it makes it through the winter.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2004 at 8:17PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Newyorkrita, there are acres of inkberries full of berries in the woods around here - they remain uneaten every year until around February, when the overwintering robins eat them all. Robins are already here, but I'm not seeing them eating any now, as usual - maybe they like to wait until we've had a frost or two to soften the berries up or change their chemistry? Or maybe they just wait and eat them when they've eaten other, preferred berries?
I think inkberries are the reason for the big, loose, seedy droppings that robins deposit in my bird bath every spring - they keep me cleaning up!
Sherry

    Bookmark   November 30, 2004 at 7:26PM
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Gentian_NY(z5)

I find the stems of this plant to be extremely brittle and prone to breakage, you can almost snap a branch off just by lightly brushing against it. The weight of the snow did some damage the first year I had it, last year we made one of those /\ shaped things and covered it, that helped. Other than it being a bit delicate, it's a great plant, very attractive. I have ilex glabra compacta.

PS: some birds/animals prefer berries after they've turned soft and old, often the next season when they're still hanging there and you think nothing is interested in them. I've seen this to be true with cedar waxwings + highbush cranberry, and chipmunks + ilex.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2004 at 2:00PM
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vonyon

That is good to know about snow. I think it is a great idea to have some berrying plants that the birds leave until the spring. That provides food that lasts longer after all the other berries are gone.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2004 at 4:26PM
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bogturtle(SE NJ 7a)

I am of the opinion that each inkberry plant has complete flowers with male and female parts and the plant does not come in seperate sexes like most holly. The lack of berries could be related to the inability of pollinating insects to fly during rainy Spring weather. Individual plants may not be able to be self-fertile and cross-pollenation might be needed.
Last week I was passing a vast understory of this holly in an oak forest. The reflection of the sun on the plants made an entire silver sea beneath the leafless trees. Berry production, though, is higher with more sun.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2004 at 10:29PM
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pankhi(z7Md)

I have several female inkberries. They had a few berries on them when I got them from the nursery about 4 years ago. Plants are growing well but no berries since then. I don't know if this is because of the cultivar- mine may be a low fruiting type. Is there any way to identify the cultivar of my inkberries? I have it narrowed to Densa, Compactum, or Shamrock (the most common ones sold in my area.)

    Bookmark   December 21, 2004 at 3:00PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

My Inkberry looks good this year but no male so I never get berries.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2005 at 6:35PM
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