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Nellie Stevens Holly Ilex x 'Nellie R. Stevens'

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Description

'Nellie R. Stevens'  is a hybrid cultivar of I. aquifolium and I. cornuta in the Aquifoliaceae family 'Nellie R. Stevens' is typically grown as a large shrub which quickly reaches a mature height of 15 to 25 feet and width of 8 to 15 feet.  Its dense and conical to pyramidal form allows it to be trained into a small tree, if the lower branches are removed.

This broadleaf evergreen is a vigorous drought, air pollution, and heat tolerant female clone that does better with southern summers than many other hollies.  It is pollinated by I. cornuta but produces some fruit without a male pollinator.  The small flowers that appear in spring are attractive to bees and other pollinators and It is a heavy fruiter, with bright red berries that appear in the fall and remain through the winter feeding a variety of birds. Though it can produce fruits without a male pollinator Ilex cornuta and 'Edward J. Stevens' are male hollies that can assist with pollination.  The glossy dark green leaves are leathery and have spinose teeth. 

This plant does well in full sun to partial shade though it may need some protection from afternoon sun to prevent leaf scorch. It prefers rich, acidic, well-drained soil but tolerates a range of soil types including heavy clay. It is best to avoid wet sites.  Prune this plant to shape in the winter.  

Use this plant as a specimen or take advantage of its dense spiny foilage for a a barrier, hedge, or screen planting.  Mass it in a woodland garden or plant along a foundation.  The showy red fruits make for great winter interest and can add some height to the back of a border.  Heavy fruit set of showy red berries make for great winter interest in any garden.  

Quick ID Hints:

  • Bullate leaves with 1-3 spines along each margin.
  • Leaves consistently vary in number of spines.
  • Abundant red fruits.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Insect pest that can be a problem include holly leaf miner, scale, spider mites, and whiteflies.  Disease problems include leaf spot and powdery mildew.  Under high pH soils chlorosis can occur.  

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Mountain Ridge Top Garden - East Lawn and Lower Drive Border
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#small tree#drought tolerant#specimen#wildlife plants#dark green#nectar plant#salt tolerant#low maintenance#winter interest#mass planting#security plant#air pollution tolerant#showy fruits#hedges#specialized bees#fast growing#privacy#cpp#dense#foundation planting#spiny leaves#border planting#screening#pollinator plant#fantz#leathery leaves#evergreen shrub#border back#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#bee friendly#winter fruits#dense growth
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#small tree#drought tolerant#specimen#wildlife plants#dark green#nectar plant#salt tolerant#low maintenance#winter interest#mass planting#security plant#air pollution tolerant#showy fruits#hedges#specialized bees#fast growing#privacy#cpp#dense#foundation planting#spiny leaves#border planting#screening#pollinator plant#fantz#leathery leaves#evergreen shrub#border back#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#bee friendly#winter fruits#dense growth
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ilex
    Family:
    Aquifoliaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Wildlife Value:
    Fruits are attractive to birds. Flowers attract bees. Members of the genus Ilex support the following specialized bee: Colletes banksi.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Mildly resistant to damage by deer, moderately salt tolerant.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 8 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Conical
    Dense
    Erect
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Abundance of bright red 1/3" globose berries. They fruit in fall and persist into winter. This plant is a female clone.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Prickly
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Glossy, deep green leaves to 4" long that are attractive year-round. Leaves are alternate, simple, bullate, elliptic, and have 1-2 spines on each side. They have a terminal spine at the apex and often vary in the number of spines they have.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Screen/Privacy
    Small Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Pollution
    Salt
    Problems:
    Spines/Thorns