Shopping Cart


Your shopping bag is empty

Go to the shop

Nellie R. Stevens Holly (15 gl)


Nellie R. Stevens Holly is the fastest-growing member of all holly trees. It is an Evergreen pyramidal tree, which can reach up to 20 feet tall and up to 15 feet wide at the base which makes it good for use as a tall screen. Nellie R. Stevens Hollies make a beautiful Privacy Screen or Buffer Planting. Birds adore the red berries.

Highlights of the Nellie Stevens Holly:

One of the most attractive hollies
Vigorous grower, the fastest growing species of all the hollies
Makes an excellent evergreen windbreak or privacy screen
Produces large berries without male pollinator



Nellie Stevens Holly is hardy to Zone 6. It is a pyramidal tree, which can reach up to 20 feet tall and up to 15 feet wide at the base which makes it good for tall screen. Give Nellie Stevens Holly trees ample room, to allow for symmetry of growth. It grows well in a variety of soils, but prefers good drainage.

Nellie Stevens Holly as a Privacy Screen

The Nellie Stevens Holly tree is great if you need to create privacy for your home. It's a medium growing tree growing around 1 to 2 feet per year where its happy. We recommend planting Nellie Stevens Holly in a line with about 5 feet apart from each other to create quick privacy, however they can be planted at 10 to 12 foot intervals if you don't mind waiting a bit for privacy. When planting alone the tree takes on a pyramidal shape and can be grown as a specimen tree to break sight-lines. Double row plantings of Nellie Stevens Holly are a great way to not only create privacy but to reduce noise from a busy roadway adjacent to your property for example. Nellie Stevens Holly trees also make a wonderful backdrop for planting beds the pleasing dark green color makes flowering plants really standout especially in the winter when it has its bright red berries.

Nellie Stevens Holy as a Formal Hedge

Nellie Stevens Holly is widely used as a quick growing formal hedge. Plant 4 to 8 feet apart, depending upon your desired results. Trim when needed but we do suggest waiting until after the initial flush of soft spring growth however it can be pruned in late winter before the onset of new growth. If it is pruned every year, Nellie Stevens Holly will create a formal dark-green evergreen screen or box-shaped hedge, similar to a Yew hedge. Nellie Stevens Holly can be kept to any height as long as you trim it once or twice a year.

Add Vertical Element to the Garden with Nellie Stevens Holly

Nellie Stevens Holly can also be planted in clusters in corners of the garden or to hide smaller permanent fixtures in the garden such as well caps or utility boxes. Clusters can be used at the ends of shrub borders or even in the middle to bring symmetry or vertical elements into the garden. Shrub borders tend to be a uniform in height but by adding clusters of larger evergreen trees you bring variations in height as well as a sense of permanence to the garden.  

Soil Types for Nellie Stevens Holly

Nellie Stevens Holly trees grow well in a wide range of soils, ranging from all sand to pure red clay. When planting in very sandy soils adding organic matter is always recommended to improve the soils ability to hold water and nutrients. When planting in hard clay soils, its best to dig the hole several feet wider than the root system and fill with soft loam soil to give the young Nellie Stevens Holly tree a faster, more aggressive root system. Nellie Stevens Holly prefer well drained soils but will tolerate wet soils for short periods of time. Nellie Stevens Holly should never be planted in soils that are excessively wet for long periods of time. Since Nellie Stevens Holly have a shallow root system, weeds and grass growing around the tree will cause the tree to grow much slower until established. Mulching will improve your growth three fold. Mulch not only stops weeds and grass, it will hold soil moisture and maintain a lower more even soil temperature, stimulating more aggressive root growth.


Never plant Nellie Stevens Holly deeper than originally planted in the pot. As a rule we always say that before you mulch you should still be able to see the soil from the original pot. Planting to deep can cause rotting of the stem and death to the tree. Nellie Stevens Holly are moderately drought tolerant. Staking young trees is recommended to minimize the stress on the stem from winds blowing the tree. When tying trees to stakes remember the tree will continue to grow. Loosely tie the tree with several twist ties to allow for growth.  If this is not done, the twist tie will grow into the tree causing injury. A Pro tip that we can offer is to use a short length of old garden hose and run the tie wire through the hose. this will protect the trunk of the tree from being damaged by the tie wire. The one question that comes up often when talking to customers is “when is the best time to plant.”? For the most part, container trees can be planted year around, provided the ground isn’t frozen. 


To help your Nellie Stevens Holly trees roots to establish, apply 2-3 gallons of water for each inch of trunk in diameter several times a week. Do not add water if the root ball is saturated. Follow this schedule for three-six months depending on the USDA Zone you live in. Once established, apply 1 gallon a week to the rootball. You can discontinue irrigation once the deciduous trees in your area have dropped their leaves. You should try to moisten the soil 2-3 feet deep each time you irrigate.  Clay for instance is more difficult to saturate and requires adding the water more slowly, while sandy soil absorbs water quickly. Keep this in mind when watering your newly planted tree. It is best to water you tree with a soaker hose not a sprinkler.


We recommend when planting your plants to use Bio-tone starter fertilizer by Espoma. We have trialed many so called “starter fertilizers” over the years and have come to rely on Bio-tone exclusively for our own use. Simply mix the recommended amount of Bio-tone into the back fill soil and water in generously when back filled. Bio-tone® Starter Plus is an all-natural plant food that is combined with a stronger concentration of beneficial bacteria along with both endo and eco mycorrhizae. Basically the “good” fungus in Bio-tone colonizes on the growing roots of your newly planted plant and does not allow disease causing fungus to attack the new roots. It has also shown promise in stimulating the growth of the new roots which means quicker establishment for you plant. It is also organic and slow release which will feed your trees the proper amount of nutrients over a period of time rather than all at once which can burn the root tips and actually have the opposite effect of slowing down plant growth. It also will help to maintain the acid level in the soil that Nellie Stevens Hollyy trees need to thrive.

Does Nellie Stevens Holly Trees have insect problems?

Nellie Stevens Holly normally have only a few insects that cause any real problems. Scale is an insect that attacks Nellie Stevens Holly, they look like little crusty flakes covering the stems and branches. Scale feed on sap causing a chlorosis (yellow) look to the leaves. The most difficult insect to control on Nellie Stevens Holly is Spider Mites. These are very small insects that can be seen with a magnifying glass. Feeding on the sap causes leaves to turn yellow and later brown. Spidermites have become resistant to most of the old chemicals. We recommend using only true miticides for control.

How do I shear Nellie Stevens Holly Trees?

Shearing is generally not needed however for a formal hedge start shearing when the tree reaches 3 or 4 feet in height, cutting only the sides, remove no more than 3 or 4 inches of growth. This will cause the tree to grow thicker. If you want the tree to grow tall don't cut the top leader, just shape the sides. The best time to shear is after a new growth spurt finishes and the new growth begins to mature. Growth will go from a smooth, greasy texture, to a rougher snake skin look. Shearing twice a year is sufficient but only if needed. To keep your trees at a particular height requires cutting the central leader and then shearing all outside branches. This will control the tree for many years, but in time the tree will become too large to maintain. Pruning can help make Nellie Stevens Holly more bushy. It is recommended that you disinfect your shears before you begin and even after each plant to prevent disease spread. You can prune dead or diseased limbs anytime of the year. To encourage thick bushy trees simply trim back the limbs that have outstretched the rest of the tree.