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

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Nellies are nearly care free evergreens. In 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 completely halted.

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

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Nellie Steven’s Holly Videos
Nellie Steven’s Holly Detail

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 for its owner, Nellie Stevens, from Oxford, Maryland.

Nellie Stevens Holly Plaque

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 required, other male hollies, if used as pollinators, can help the Nellie R. Stevens holly produce more spectacular berries in greater quantities. The Nellie Stevens holly has a sweet smell when in flower and is attractive to bees and butterflies.

Add the male clone, Edward Stevens, or any Ilex cornuta to increase berry production.

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