Ilex x 'Nellie R. Stevens' is a cross between Ilex aquifolium (English Holly) and Ilex cornuta (Chinese Holly) and has a dense, conical growth habit. Nellie R. Stevens is a broadly pyramidal tree that can reach 30 to 40 feet tall, though more commonly grows to the 15 to 25 foot range. It is tolerant of our area's heavy soils and can also withstand drought. It performs best in full sun but can tolerate partial shade. Give it a location with the best drainage available as consistently wet sites can damage its roots. Nellie R. Stevens has typical holly foliage that is glossy, deep green and remains densely beautiful year-round. It also is a prolific producer of bright red berries and has the advantage - unlike many other holly varieties - of not requiring a male tree nearby to produce fruit. The red clusters will be beautiful in winter until late February or early March, when a flock of cedar waxwings may swoop in and eat all the berries. A new crop will then appear in spring.
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