Nellie Stevens Holly

As low as $158.69 was $229.99
Availability: In stock

Fast Growing, Heat Loving Nellie Stevens Holly

  • Fast Growth Rate
  • Abundant Brilliant Red Berries
  • Versatile Landscape Plant
  • Great for Privacy and as a Hedge
  • Adapted to a Wide Range Of Climates

For a fast evergreen solution in your warm climate landscape, you really can't go wrong with the Nellie Stevens Holly (Ilex x 'Nellie R. Stevens'). Growing up to three feet a year, this fast-growing evergreen is naturally dense and grows into a large pyramidal shape with little or no pruning.

It thrives in hardiness Zones 6 - 9, and performs beautifully in both coastal exposure, hot humid and hot dry climates. Our customers tell us it's the fastest growing Holly they have ever seen!

The leaves are a beautiful, glossy dark green color all year long. In springtime, white flowers are hidden under the dense canopy and inconspicuous. But you'll definitely notice the crimson berries in fall. They contrast so beautifully against the dark green leaves.

Nellie Stevens Holly makes a stunning fall and winter display. Best of all, this abundant berry display is possible without the need of an additional pollinating variety. (Although when planted with the beautiful Burford Dwarf holly (Ilex cornuta 'Burfordi) close by, even greater volumes of berries are possible.)

Get started on your privacy screen. Order this magnificent home garden selection today!

How to Use Nellie Stevens Holly in the Landscape

This fast grower is an ideal choice for privacy screens and hedges. Let it grow naturally into a lovely pyramid or get out the trimmers to shape it into a tall, formal box hedge.

Train into a single trunk specimen for a delightfully ornamental evergreen tree by simply removing the lowest branches from the main trunk. Nellie Stevens makes an amazing small accent tree for a private corner of your yard. Try one at a corner of your foundation planting for effortless good looks.

Or, go for a portable screen by using them in large containers. Nellie Stevens Holly makes a perfect patio container tree. Imagine the Christmas display!

After all, the fall and winter interest is one of the main reasons for growing Holly trees. Decorate your containers with holiday lights or cut branches to decorate your home during the holidays.

The bright berries bring cheery holiday spirit to your landscape. And bird-lovers can rejoice, as they watch as local songbirds dig in and enjoy the berries as the winter sets in.

Plant the Nellie Stevens Holly five feet apart (measuring from trunk to trunk) to achieve complete privacy with a living wall or use it as an accent to create texture and color in your yard.

#ProPlantTips for Care

The Nellie Stevens Holly is as durable as it is beautiful. Landscapers love this selection for its fast growth and hardiness. Plant it in well-drained soil for best results. Give them pine bark mulch over the root system.

These tough plants can withstand poor soil, as long as the drainage is good. They'll survive through a moderate drought. Once established, they can even tolerate neglect. It also can grow in more shade than any other Holly variety (although it will do best in full sun!)

They prefer a slightly acidic soil, so feed with an acid fertilizer like Dr. Earth Acid Lovers Organic and Natural Premium Fertilizertwice a year. In high pH soils, you'll feed them once in late winter and again in midsummer. This is especially important for container-grown trees to maintain the plant's luster.

Nellie Stevens can be pruned aggressively to most any shape or form. Best time for pruning is early spring.

And what about the name of this plant? Well, the story has it that an avid gardener named Nellie R. Stevens swiped a few berries on her visit to the U.S. Botanical Gardens in Washington, D.C. and planted them at her home. While we never recommend planting strange plant material in your yard, in this case, it turned out to be a happy event for Mrs. Stevens.

With its shiny, dark, leathery evergreen leaves, an almost perfect pyramidal form and wonderful full-sized red berries that persist into Christmas, Nellie Stevens' Holly was a perfect fit for the home garden. Eventually, the American Holly Society determined that indeed, everything about this variety was unique, and in time it was confirmed that Nellie's Holly was in fact a new species.

It was determined that this new variety is a Chinese holly (Ilex cornuta) crossed with an English holly (Ilex aquifolium). Thank you, Mrs. Nellie R. Stevens!

Buying Options for Plants

Nature Hills sells a large variety of plants with several options available. Plants are offered in both potted containers and as dormant bare root without soil. Here is a helpful resource to understand your options as you create a beautiful landscape with help from Nature Hills.

Ever wonder what a larger plant will mean for your landscape? Container Sizes are really all about the age of the plant!

Seasonally, Nature Hills offers hand selected, high quality bare root trees, shrubs and perennials. Bare root plants are sold by height from the top of the root system to the top of the plant. Plants may be taller than the height minimums.

  • Popular sizes of select trees are 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, etc.
  • Popular sizes of select bare root plants is 1 foot, 18 inches, etc.

Nature Hills Container Size by Volume

Keep in mind, specific varieties and different growing conditions can affect the rate at which plants grow. Variations in size may occur.

Young Plants to 18 Months
Size Volume
2"x2"x3" Ranges from .18 to .21 dry quarts / .198 to .23 dry liters in volume
4.5" Container Equal to .65 dry quart / .72 dry liter in volume
Sprinter Pot Equal to .63 dry quart / .69 dry liter in volume
4" Container Ranges from .31 to .87 / .35 to .96 dry liter in volume
6" Container Equal to 1.4 dry quarts / 1.59 dry liters in volume
1 Quart Equal to 1 dry quart / 1.1 dry liter in volume
5.5" Container Equal to 1.89 of a dry quart / 2.08 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x5" Ranges from .8 to 1.1 dry quarts / .88 to 1.2 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x6" Ranges from 1.0 to 1.3 dry quarts / 1.1 to 1.41 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x9" Ranges from 1.1 to 2.1 dry quarts / 1.2 to 2.3 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x10" Ranges from 1.7 to 2.3 dry quart / 1.87 to 2.53 dry liters in volume
Plants 18 Months - 2.5 Years Old
Size Volume
2 Quart Equal to 2 dry quarts / 2.2 dry liters in volume
#1 Container Ranges from 2.26 to 3.73 dry quarts / 2.49 to 4.11 dry liters in volume
5"x5"x12" Equal to 3.5 to 4.3 dry quarts / 3.85 to 4.74 dry liters in volume
Plants 2 - 4 Years Old
Size Volume
#2 Container Ranges from 1.19 to 1.76 dry gallons / 5.24 to 7.75 dry liters in volume
#3 Container Ranges from 2.32 to 2.76 dry gallons / 10.22 to 12.16 dry liters in volume
Plants 3 - 5 Years Old
Size Volume
#5 Container Ranges from 2.92 to 4.62 dry gallons / 12.86 to 20.35 dry liters in volume
#6 Container Ranges from 5.25 to 6.01 dry gallons / 23.12 to 26.42 dry liters in volume
#7 Container Ranges from 5.98 to 6.08 dry gallons / 26.34 to 26.78 dry liters in volume

About Plant Sentry™

Plant Sentry is designed to protect both consumers and the nursery trade from invasive plant pests and diseases. Sites that display the Plant Sentry protection badge are protected from consumers buying and nurseries shipping material carrying invasive pests and diseases.

This proprietary eCommerce software prevents the shipment of a restricted plant to each state. The Plant Sentry system includes a shipment certification program. The Plant Sentry Compliance Officer works closely with and each nursery or fulfillment center to ensure only compliant plants are sold to customers.

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To obtain a more accurate shipment time-frame, simply enter your zip code in the “Find Your Growing Zone” box to the right. Our plants are grown all over the country and lead time on items may be different because of this. Once your order is placed, you will also receive the specific shipment time-frame information as part of your order confirmation. Once an item ships, you will receive shipment notification and tracking numbers, so you can follow along while your plant travels to your doorstep. We use FedEx, UPS, or USPS at our discretion.

Due to winter weather we have put a hold on shipping to the areas shown below in grey. You can still order now and we will ship the plant to you during an appropriate time for your zone.

*If you have found your zone already, it will be highlighted in the table below.
Color Zone Times
3 Spring 2019
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Shipping Rates

At Nature Hills we handle, package and ship the products you order with the utmost care to ensure healthy delivery. Shipping and handling charges are calculated based on the tables below. Please note that some items include an additional handling surcharge, these will be noted on the item's product page.

From To S&H
0 - 19.99 24.99
20 - 49.99 29.99
50 - 69.99 34.99
70 - 99.99 39.99
100 - 129.99 44.99
130 - 149.99 48.99
150 - 150+ Approx 28%

Click here to see our full rates


Nellie Stevens Holly Is Suited to Grow in Zones 6-9
Growing Zones 6-9
More Information
Brand Nature Hills' Choice
Botanical Name Ilex x 'Nellie R. Stevens'
Mature Height 15 - 25 feet
Mature Spread 8 - 12 feet
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Soil Well-Drained
Moisture Moderate
Growth Rate Fast
Flower Color Dark Green
Foliage Dark Green
Fall Color Evergreen
Pollinator Friendly Yes