Holly (Ilex 'Nellie R. Stevens') in the Ilex Database

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 6b -20.6 °C (-5 °F) to -17.8 °C (0 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 20 to 30 feet (6-9 m)
Plant Spread: 10 to 15 feet (3-4.5m)
Leaves: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Fall
Late fall or early winter
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Other: Female
Flower Time: Spring
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Provides winter interest
Resistances: Salt tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Self fertile
Miscellaneous: Dioecious
Awards and Recognitions: Other: Holly of the Year 2011
Parentage: Ilex cornuta x I. aquifolium


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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Jun 7, 2019 10:12 AM

This cultivar of a hybrid between the English Holly x the Chinese Holly was named after its originator of Nellie R. Stevens of Oxford, Maryland and was released into the trade in 1954. It has been very commonly planted in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the USA since around the 1990's. It has been often used to replace the American Holly tree because it grows about twice as fast. However, it is not as lovely as the American species, as the hybrid shows some degree of straggliness and irregularity in its form. Some major landscape companies in the Philadelphia, PA, area have stopped using it due to the lower quality form. Some specimens still look fine, but some others have gotten very straggly. Some people shear the trees to control that. The evergreen leaves are 2 to 4 inches long by 1 to 2 inches wide with 2 or 3 spines on each side of the leaf. This is a female cultivar so that it does bear red berries about 1.3 inches wide. These berries do not last as long as many other hollies. The fruit can be produced parthenocarpically; that is fruit arising without pollen fertilization, but having some kind of male Chinese Holly around or some others will result in heavier fruiting. I'd rather wait longer for a better American Holly tree.

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Posted by terrafirma (NE. FL. - Zone 9a) on Oct 30, 2013 10:05 AM

Very fast growing, conical shrub or small tree. Most likely is a hybrid between Chinese holly and English holly. It will set fruit without a male, but will produce a heavier yield of berries if pollinated by a male selection of Chinese holly. A best bet for growing here in the hot and humid Southeast.

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Posted by verityblue on May 24, 2014 11:05 AM

I planted a lot of these 6 years ago and they've reached about 5 feet wide and 6 to 10 feet tall. I planted them 10 feet apart and want a solid hedge and expected them to reach 10 to 15 feet in width but now I'm worried I'll still have gaps. Does anyone have any older Nellies that have gone past 5 feet wide?

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Posted by Catmint20906 (Maryland - Zone 7a) on Aug 23, 2014 7:58 PM

Holly (Ilex 'Nellie R. Stevens') is a pretty multiseason ornamental tree. Small white flowers bloom in midspring, attracting a wide variety of pollinators. Red berries grow abundantly on 'Nellie Stevens', forming in the summer and ripening to red in the fall and winter, attracting birds. 'Nellie Stevens' will fruit as a single specimen, but it will fruit more abundantly if another holly is nearby.

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Catmint20906 On April 24, 2015 Bloomed
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Salt tolerant plants by eclayne Feb 8, 2013 9:39 PM 130

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