How to Plant Nellie Stevens Holly


The Nellie Stevens holly is a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant evergreen tree that grows 12 to 25 feet tall. This fast-growing holly tree has shiny, dark-green leaves and red berries that emerge in fall and winter. Due to their evergreen, dense foliage, Nellie Stevens hollies are excellent for creating a tall hedge or privacy screen. You can also plant them individually in your landscape. Nellie Stevens holly trees grow best in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 through 9, where winter temperatures stay above -5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 1

Select a planting site that receives full to partial sunlight. The Nellie Stevens holly can grow in any type of soil.

Step 2

Dig a planting hole twice the width of and slightly shallower than the height of the root ball. Loosen the soil in the bottom and on the sides of the planting hole with your shovel.

Step 3

Loosen and untangle the roots of the Nellie Stevens holly tree so they dangle downward. Set the roots into the planting hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is about 1 inch above ground level.

Step 4

Backfill the planting hole with the displaced soil about one-third of the way, then water the soil thoroughly to remove any air pockets from around the roots. Repeat this process until the planting hole is filled.

Step 5

Water the Nellie Stevens holly again to soak the soil to the depth of and around the entire root area. Spread a 3-inch-thick layer of bark mulch on the ground over the entire root zone around the tree, but keeping the mulch about 1 or 2 inches away from the trunk.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid planting your Nellie Stevens holly tree where there are low-hanging power lines or other overhead structures, because the tree can reach 25 feet in height.

Things You'll Need

  • Nellie Stevens holly tree
  • Shovel
  • Garden hose
  • Bark mulch


  • Fast Growing Trees Nursery: Nellie Stevens Holly Trees
  • Ilex X 'Nellie R. Stevens'

Who Can Help

  • University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture: Nellie R. Stevens Holly
Keywords: plant Nellie Stevens holly, Nellie Stevens holly tree, Ilex X 'Nellie R. Stevens'

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.