S & J Tree Farm and Nursery’s
Guide to Growing
in The Northeast Florida Landscape
( Ilex aquifolium x cornuta ‘Nellie R.
Nellie R. Stevens Holly Origins:
– Not native to North America the Nellie R. Stevens Holly tree is a
cross between Ilex aquifolium (English Holly) and Ilex Cornuta (Chinese Holly)
Nellie R. Stevens Holly Preferred Exposure:
– Nellie R. Stevens Holly trees will tolerate both full sun and full shade
equally well in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area landscape.
Nellie R. Stevens Holly Foliage | Bark:
– Nellie R. Stevens Hollys have a deep dark green glossy foliage that will be a
stand out in the landscape.
– Bark of the Nellie R. Stevens Holly is rarely viewed in the landscape
due to its full lushly foliated growth habit, usually seen growing full to the ground, but is a light tan in
Nellie R. Stevens Holly Soil Preference / Salt tolerance:
– More tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, the Nellie R. Stevens
Holly will grow well in clay, sand, loam, acidic, slightly alkaline, and well drained or soils
where extended periods of moisture following periods of heavy rainfalls and flooding
– Salt tolerance unknown, although they are seen growing in areas within a few
blocks of the ocean rather well.
Nellie R. Stevens Holly Size Variance:
– The Nellie Stevens Holly can reach sizes of 20-30 feet H | 10-12+
feet W depending on pruning habits
Nellie R. Stevens Holly Growth Habit:
– Upright columnar growth habit, the Nellie R. Stevens Holly tends to be
narrow taller than it is wide and gradually widening from top to bottom in a Christmas tree shape.
Nellie R. Stevens Holly Growth Rate:
– Slow growth rate makes the Nellie Stevens Holly an easily managed
landscape plant for accenting the foundation of a home or used as a hedge or privacy screen.
Nellie R. Stevens Holly Bloom:
– Small white flowers in clusters in summer are followed by berries in the fall and
– Nellie Stevens Hollys are all female and will need a pollinator to ensure a lush
crop of berries each year. Fortunately any Ilex cornuta will do since they flower at similar times, members of
ilex cornuta (Chinese Holly ) include dwarf burford and burfordii holly as well as carissa and needlepoint, all
of which are widely used landscape plants in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area
landscape. Finding one of these plants growing in the general vicinity is almost a given even in the newest
Ilex Nellie R. Stevens Water Requirements:
– Water well during the establishment period and any time after that when you are
trying to get your Holly to flush new growth or when attempting to correct a nutrient deficiency in the
– Nellie R. Stevens Holly trees are highly drought tolerant once established
in the landscape.
Butterfly or Bird Attracting:
Best Uses For Nellie R Stevens Holly in the North Florida | Jacksonville
| St. Augustine Florida area Landscape:
– Nellie R. Stevens Hollys are an easy maintenance option when a narrower
landscape accent is needed due to lack vertical space. The mature height makes this plant ideal for two story
houses where additional height would be a welcome characteristic.
– Nellie R. Stevens Holly also makes a great landscape specimen tree that will
require little effort on your part to maintain its beautiful form and lush deep green foliage.
– Nellie Stevens Holly makes a beautiful two story privacy screen that will
require little if any maintenance once established in the landscape.
– Hollys are a decorators dream each Christmas season with its deep glossy
green foliage with its characteristic leaf shape and bright glossy red berries! Prune to your hearts content for
long lasting cut foliage to decorate Christmas tables and wreaths, the more you prune for decorations, the
prettier your holly tree will be next year!
Care of Ilex Nellie R. Stevens:
– Water every day during the establishment period. See watering your newly planted
trees for more information.
-They will need good water during the establishment period and supplemental
irrigation when attempting to fix soil nutrient deficiencies or after pruning to help flush new
– Provide a 1 ft diameter circle of mulched area where grass is kept from growing
for each inch of caliper (or diameter) of trunk measured 4 inches from the ground level.
– Nellie Stevens Hollys tend to do better long term when pruned to a single
leader instead of having multiple trunks, prune out competing branches as low as possible towards the base of
the tree and allow a central leader to develop.
– Fertilize each spring with a mixture of
Milorganite and a slow release poly coated plant food such as Osmocote for Acid
loving plants or Stay Green general purpose plant food, sprinkling the fertilizer around the mulch circle
underneath the foliage of the tree