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Nellie Stevens Holly for Sale

  • Nellie Stevens Holly Trees
  • Nellie Stevens Holly
  • Nellie Stevens Holly fruit
  • Nellie Stevens Holly bush
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Ilex X 'Nellie R. Stevens'
  • Ships in 1-2 days
  • 1-Year Warranty Eligible
  • Pots or accessories are not included unless specified in the product options.
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Shipping Details:

Once your order is shipped, you’ll receive an email with a tracking number and estimated delivery date. Most orders ship immediately, but some items are seasonal and may only ship in spring or fall. These products are noted on the website.

When most people think of holly shrubs, they think of Christmas. But there are dozens of holly bush varieties that are beautiful all year round, including the Nellie R. Stevens holly, or Ilex x “Nellie R. Stevens. This hardy, low-maintenance evergreen shrub is a cross between the English holly and the Chinese holly, and features dark green leaves with white flowers and red berries. The Nellie Stevens holly is notable for other characteristics, including:

  • A fast growth rate of two to three feet per year
  • Retaining its dark green coloring even during the hottest summer months
  • Providing privacy as a screen in backyards and gardens

Plant Care



Partial shade will work for this plant but full sun is ideal.



Water weekly in the summer to ensure the soil layer remains moist but not soaked.



Choose holly-tone fertilizers high in acidity. Apply a slow-release fertilizer in early spring or fall.

Planting and Care

Author Image
by John Haryasz | Horticulture Writer and Landscape Designer – last update on December 2, 2021

Planting instructions

The Nellie R. Stevens holly is best suited for USDA plant hardiness zones 6-9. They prefer well-draining, slightly acidic soil, but can also grow in sandy, clay, or alkaline soils. Nellie R. Stevens hollies are not picky about the amount of sunlight they receive, doing well in full sun or partial shade. When planting, dig a hole twice as wide and equal in height to the root ball. Fill in with soil, and water every two to three days until you see signs of new growth. If planting several Nellie Stevens hollies, space each shrub about six feet apart.

Watering and nutrients

The watering needs of the drought-tolerant Nellie R. Stevens holly are relatively minimal. During the spring and summer, give your Nellie R. Stevens holly about one inch of water per week. However, it’s best to make sure the top one to two inches of soil are dry before watering, as these plants do not like to be in water-logged soil. You do not need to water your Nellie R. Stevensholly during the fall and winter months. To help keep its leaves green, feed your Nellie R. Stevens holly with a fertilizer that has an NPK of 4-3-4 in the late fall.


Like other holly plant varieties, the Nellie R. Stevens holly is noted for its white flowers and small red berries, which are inedible but attractive. The Nellie R. Stevens holly is self-pollinating, producing only female flowers. However, the presence of a male variety of holly, like the Edward J. Stevens holly, will increase fruit production by cross-pollinating your Nellie R. Stevens holly. If you want to have holly shrubs bursting with berries, consider planting both female and male varieties.


Nellie R. Stevens holly shrubs grow in a wide, pyramidal shape, although they can be pruned into a different form. They grow quite quickly, so pruning may be necessary to manage their size. Prune your Nellie Stevens holly in the spring so that trimmed stems have a chance to properly grow before the first frost in the fall. Remove any dead or diseased branches with shears, or a pruning saw for larger branches. Wear long sleeves and pants to avoid cuts from the plant’s pointy leaves.

Pests, diseases, and animals

Thanks to its poisonous berries, animals do not bother the Nellie Stevens holly. This plant is susceptible to some pests, including scale insects, whitefly, holly miner, and mites. Mites are especially prevalent in the summer. If you notice an infestation, treat the limbs and stems of your Nellie Stevens holly with horticultural oil or insecticidal soap once a week until the bugs are gone. These plants are susceptible to root rot, which is caused by overwatering.


How did the Nellie R. Stevens holly get its name?

The Nellie R. Stevens holly gets its unique name from the individual who created it, Nellie R. Stevens. During her visit to the U.S. Botanical Garden in 1900, Stevens broke the rules and took some Ilex seeds home with her. While it’s not clear if Stevens did so knowingly or inadvertently, she cross-bred English holly and Chinese holly. This new variety grew, unnamed, in her Maryland garden for decades until her niece brought it to the attention of the Holly Society in the mid-1950s, where it was officially dubbed Ilex x “Nellie R. Stevens,” or the Nellie Stevens holly.

How large does a Nellie R. Stevens holly grow?

Part of the reason why Nellie R. Stevens holly shrubs make such excellent privacy screens is due to their size. Mature plants typically grow to be at least 15 feet tall, although they can reach heights of 25 feet. On average, they are 5-10 feet wide. The Nellie Stevens holly is a fast grower, adding about three feet of height each year. When properly cared for, these bushes can live for several decades.

Is the Nellie R. Stevens holly poisonous?

The small, red berries that grow on a Nellie R. Stevens holly shrub may look appealing, they are poisonous to humans and most animals, including household pets like dogs and cats. Ingesting the berries from a Nellie Stevens holly can cause stomach ache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. While most wildlife know to avoid these berries, be careful planting this shrub around household pets.

Are Nellie R. Stevens holly bushes drought tolerant?

Yes, the Nellie R. Stevens holly is drought tolerant, meaning the plant can withstand and recover from temporary drought-like conditions, whether they are caused by nature or by human neglect. Nellie Stevens holly bushes need little water during the winter months when they are dormant, and do not like to be overwatered in the spring and summer. Waterlogged roots are more damaging to this plant than being too dry for brief periods.

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Customer Reviews

Verified Buyer June 28, 2021 at 3:51pm
ratingThe plants were beautiful.

Could not have gone better. The holly's were perfect.

Verified Buyer June 23, 2021 at 5:11pm
ratingGreat holly trees!

Nicely packed, great condition.

Verified Buyer May 28, 2021 at 5:33pm
ratingHealthy but disappointed in the shape

Plant arrived healthy and surprising large. Was disappointed that the tree looked more like a bush with several main branches instead of a single trunk. Was not the look I was wanting.

Verified Buyer May 5, 2021 at 10:38pm
ratingMostly healthy little trees

3 of 6 arrived broken and damaged due to tight packing.( all 6 in 1 box) . 5 of the 6 look good, and should do well now that they are planted. One appears to have a stripped leaf appearance-like blight. I replanted in a separate pot and am watching it.

Verified Buyer April 30, 2021 at 5:23pm
ratingOne week in and trees look good.

If I feel the same in one year, I will buy again. Too soon to comment.

Verified Buyer April 29, 2021 at 4:10pm
ratingNellie Stevens Hollies

Arrived on time and well packaged. Planted them the next day...and the next day they were over 10 feet tall...I think...but I don't have my glasses on!

Verified Buyer December 22, 2020 at 4:17pm
ratingNellie Stevens order

Nellie Stevens arrived in good condition, is healthy and thriving.

Verified Buyer December 3, 2020 at 6:03pm
ratingNellie Stevens Holly Purchase

Purchased 10 package after comparing nursery prices. Great value! Prompt shipping. Planted all 10 two days after receiving shipment. It's been two weeks and bushes look good. Time will tell. Look forward to future purchases.

Verified Buyer August 26, 2020 at 2:49am
ratingGreat experience

My trees came bigger than I expected and in such great shape. I planted them just over a week ago and they are holding up really well. I was so impressed with this company that I couldn't stop talking about it to my mom. Now she has asked for the website for herself. I would definitely buy more from this company in the future!

Verified Buyer June 27, 2020 at 8:19pm

They were hungry for some Texas dirt; amazing.

Verified Buyer June 22, 2020 at 4:58pm
ratingHolly trees

I bought the ten pack of holly trees to plant in the open field. As soon I received them I planted and watered them. So far they're doing well. They were well packaged and in great condition when I received them.

Verified Buyer June 20, 2020 at 3:01pm
ratingNellie Stevens Holly trees

Our trees are beautiful. They arrived in very good condition. Packaging kept trees in tact. They are planted and growing great.

Verified Buyer May 23, 2020 at 12:48am
ratingJolly holle

Great size and health

Verified Buyer May 17, 2020 at 7:50pm
ratingNellie Stephens holly

Love the company,love my plants,,out of 20 I only have one not doing well

Verified Buyer May 16, 2020 at 11:18am
ratingHealthy Hollies

Holly bushes arrived well packaged and healthy. I planted them in early April. Despite a cold spring here in NH with frequent snow and freezing temps, they seem to be holding up very well. So far so good!

Verified Buyer April 30, 2020 at 4:40pm
ratingNellie Stevens holly

Plants arrived in very good condition and seem to be doing well, I am happy with them and the service

Verified Buyer December 4, 2019 at 12:25am

They planted easy.. Hopefully they will make a good privacy fence in a few years.. Side note after I purchased 7 of these for 179.00. I found 20 more locally for 179.00 including tax.. Great people to deal with but check your local area before buying here..

Verified Buyer September 5, 2019 at 6:07pm
ratingNellin it up with the Stevens and the Holly's

I bought 10 of these plants to hide my putrid neighbors yard. They are hoarders and recently decided to park a dilapidated 80's camper trailer right next to my fence! I hope that they will grow the full expected 3 feet per year. Hopefully I can wait that long. I had to plant them in a spot which does not get as much sun as I had hoped, but they seem to be doing just fine. A few leaves turned yellow the first couple weeks after planting but they seem to be establishing themselves sufficiently. I chose the Nelly Stevens because they supposedly grow fast and keep their leaves all winter. They were also planted next to my pool so hopefully I wont need to worry about the leaves falling and clogging up my skimmer.

Verified Buyer July 22, 2019 at 1:16pm

Wish I had known that you crop a 7' tree to a 3' - 4' and I would have just bought a 7'

  • deer-resistant
    Deer Resistant
  • fast-grow
    Fast Growing
Mature height
15-25 ft.
Mature width
8-15 ft.
Sunlight requirement
Growth rate
Botanical name
Ilex X 'Nellie R. Stevens'
Shipping exclusions
Grows Well In Zones
Growing Zones: 6-9 i Growing zones help determine if a particular plant is likely to grow well in a location. It identifies the average annual minimum winter temperatures across the U.S. provided as a map by the USDA.
(hardy down to -10°F)

Nellie Stevens Holly

Ilex X 'Nellie R. Stevens'
  • Ships in 1-2 days
  • 1-Year Warranty Eligible
  • Pots or accessories are not included unless specified in the product options.
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