The Nellie R. Stevens Holly (Ilex x Nellie R. Stevens Holly) is a robust evergreen Holly that grows well in various landscaping situations. This plant is a broadly shaped pyramidal tree or tall shrub. The holly’s glossy dark green leaves and bright red berries provide stunning fall coloring. The Nellie Stevens Holly is a delightful addition to any landscape and works well as a “Living Fence” TM or as a specimen tree. This tree demands relatively simple care. The Nellie Stevens Holly can achieve a yearly growth rate between 6″-12″ yearly. This plant does well in full sun and/or partial shade.

Nellie Stevens Holly trees are nearly carefree evergreens. At the nursery, the only insect we have seen damaging the trees are tent caterpillars, which can be swept off with a broom. The waxy cuticle of the holly makes it difficult for insects to penetrate. Aphids do attack new succulent growth. If the infestation is not severe, spraying is not necessary. Once the new growth has hardened off, insect activity will be slowed tremendously or entirely halted.

Tiny black spots(1-2mm in diameter) sometimes appear on the holly leaves. I asked our Maryland State Nursery Inspector what they were. I could not find the causal agent. The inspector said that the new cells occasionally sun scald as the new leaves emerge. These cells later blacken into small black circles. No treatment is needed.

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Nellie Stevens Holly – Educational Video

Origin of the Nellie R. Stevens Holly

The Nellie Stevens holly is a hybrid between Ilex aquifolium and Ilex cornuta developed on the eastern shore of Maryland in 1954. It is one of the best hollies for this area. It is named after its owner, Nellie Stevens, from Oxford, Maryland.

Nellie R. Stevens Holly Plaque at the home of where it originated in Oxford, Maryland.

Nellie R. Stevens Holly is described as self-pollinating, meaning it does not necessarily require a male pollinator to produce berries, as with other hollies. Although not necessarily needed, other male hollies, if used as pollinators, can help the Nellie Stevens holly to produce more spectacular berries in more significant quantities. The Nellie R. Stevens Holly has a sweet smell when in flower and is attractive to bees and butterflies.

Want more bright red holly berries? Add the male clone, Edward J. Stevens, or any Ilex cornuta to increase your berry production.

Nellie Stevens Holly tree adding privacy screening around patio.

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