Ilex 'Nellie R. Stevens'

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 3 Professionals
Common Name: holly
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Aquifoliaceae
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 15.00 to 25.00 feet
Spread: 8.00 to 12.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Greenish-white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Air Pollution

Culture

Grow in organically rich, slightly acidic, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prune in winter if needed. Ilex ‘Edward J. Stevens’ and Ilex cornuta males reportedly will serve as good pollinators for this female plant. However, ‘Nellie R. Stevens’ can bear some fruit without fertilization from a male pollinator because it is parthenocarpic (from Greek parthenos meaning virgin and karpos meaning fruit). This plant has better heat tolerance than many of the hollies, and is a good selection for hot southern areas. It is not reliably winter hardy throughout the St. Louis area where it should be sited in a protected location.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ilex is a genus of over 400 species of evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs and climbers from tropical, subtropical and temperate regions. Many are grown for their attractive, evergreen foliage.

Genus name comes from the Latin name Quercus ilex for holm oak in reference to the foliage similarities (holm oak and many of the shrubs in the genus Ilex have evergreen leaves).

‘Nellie R. Stevens’ is a hybrid between I. aquifolium and I. cornuta. It typically grows as a large broadleaf evergreen shrub with dense, conical form to 15-25’ tall and 8-12’ wide. It also can be trained to grow as a small tree. Oblong, glossy, dark green leaves (to 4” long) have spiny margins (typically 2-3 spines per side). Small greenish-white flowers appear in spring (April), but are generally inconspicuous. Flowers give way to often abundant amounts of berry-like bright red fruits (to 1/3” diameter) which ripen in fall and persist into winter.

Problems

Potential insect problems include holly leaf miner, spider mites, whitefly and scale. Potential disease problems include leaf spot, leaf rot, tar spot and powdery mildew. Plants are also susceptible to leaf drop, leaf scorch and chlorosis (yellowing of leaves in high pH soils).

Garden Uses

Borders, screens, hedges, foundations.

Specimen. Small tree.