Holly, Nellie Stevens
Holly, Nellie Stevens
Lauded as the “Grande Dame of landscape hollies,”* the Nellie Stevens Holly has earned a reputation for being a handsome, wholesome, hardy specimen that can be grown as an attractive stand-alone tree or as an exemplary privacy hedge…
What distinguishes the lovely Nellie Stevens Holly?
Year-round lush green foliage.
Rapid growth spurt and moderate height, making it exemplary for a small yard.
Attracts plenty of wildlife due to its decorative gleaming copper-red berries.
Ornamental white spring blossoms.
Excellent usage as a privacy hedge.
Keeping up appearances…
Easily reaching heights of 15-25 ft., the fast-growing handsome Nellie Stevens Holly has a fantastic growth spurt of 2-3 ft. per year, effortlessly cultivated to your liking. Unlike most other hedge trees, this holly specimen retains its rejuvenating dark jade foliage throughout the entire year, reigning as a spectacular splash of green even during summer’s dry spells and winter’s cold onslaught. Its leaves are luxuriously lustrous and have a leathery sort of texture.
In the winter, the Nellie Stevens Holly’s luscious little coppery-crimson berries give the tree a festive air; many homeowners enjoy clipping off a few branches to decorate their doors and homes for the holidays. In the spring, in the stead of these berries, you’ll find a patchwork of gorgeous tiny white blossoms that festoon the tree’s slim branches. Such ornamental beauty has led to it being hailed as “the grande dame of landscape hollies in the Southeast: common [and] beautifully functional to a pragmatic fault” (*Michael Dirr, Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs).
A friendly recommendation.
Due to the lenience of its structure—this evergreen specimen can be cultivated as a broad pyramidal tree (in true Christmas tree fashion) or can be pruned to form a boxy hedge—the Nellie Stevens Holly may serve as a spectacular living wall that ensures privacy and serves as a hardy wind-barrier. With a 6-9 hardiness zone rating, this tree thrives in full sun to partial shade and grows best in well-drained, slightly acidic soil.
The Nellie Stevens Holly requires minimal maintenance and, if desired, no pruning. If it is to be treated as a specimen tree, you may want to purchase the species in tree form; if you’re seeking to cultivate it as a hedge tree, we suggest opting for a multi-stemmed shrub version of this holly.
Awesome tree trivia!
- It probably comes as no surprise that the Nellie Stevens Holly was named after Nellie Robinson Stevens, who grew the original hybrid plant in her garden; the species is therefore sometimes also referred to as the Nellie R. Stevens Holly.
- The Nellie Stevens Holly is a hybrid specimen; it is actually a cross between the English Holly and the Chinese Holly.
Photos by: Deeram
This Tree's Zone: 6 to 9
Your Growing Zone:
|Foliage||Glossy, Dark Green|
|Sun||Full Sun to Part Shade|
|Size||15 to 25 feet|
|Spread||8 to 12 feet|