Nellie R. Stevens Holly
December Plant of the Month
Nothing says December Plant of the Month like a good 'ol holly plant. Nellie R. Stevens is a favorite variety for many reasons, its most noteworthy being its showy red-orange berries!
What's in a Name?
Nellie R. Stevens is a hybrid between English holly and Chinese holly. The garden that the original hybrid plant was produced in belonged to Nellie Robinson Stevens, a teacher and avid gardener. "Miss Nellie" collected the seeds of the hybrid, hence the name.
Growth Habits and Use in the Landscape
A large evergreen shrub, Nellie Stevens forms a pyramidal shape with dense branching. The leaves are dark green and glossy, oblong and prickly, making them a good choice for security barriers. Deer don't care for the texture much either. Vigorous and fast growing, this holly can be used as a small tree, or planted in groups for screens or windbreaks. Give Nellie plenty of room, she grows to about 10 feet tall and 5 feet wide, sometimes larger.
Small white blooms will appear in spring. In fall you'll start to see large red-orange berries. This holly is one of the few that does not require a pollinator to set fruit. However, like fruit trees, it will produce even more berries if you are able to find a male Edward J. Stevens Holly.
Where to Put it?
Nellie R. Stevens hollies have pretty good heat tolerance and are drought tolerant once established. They prefer well drained soil and while rich acidic soil is a plus, it's not absolutely necessary for these hollies to grow. One of the great things about this variety is that it's low maintenance and keeps its shape even without pruning. If needed, prune in winter. Plant your Nellie R. Stevens holly in full sun to part shade and enjoy interest in your garden year-round!
December Plant of the Month
Wish you could keep your Christmas tree year-round? This tree keeps the spirit alive! Arizona Cypress are evergreen trees that are probably best known for their aromatic, icy blue foliage. Decorate one for the holidays, then plant it in the yard! They have a conical shape that can reach up to 40 feet tall and 30 feet wide over time. They are somewhat fast growing at about 15 inches per year. The more water they get, the faster they will grow.
Arizona Cypress has soft blue foliage that keeps its color all year and the flaky bark is interesting with colors ranging from gray to reddish purple. The color of these trees is especially striking against your everyday bright green scenery. They look great as a single specimen or use them as a privacy screen when planting in multiples. These trees are also useful as a windbreak or noise barrier.
As the name suggests, Arizona Cypress do well where heat and drought can be an issue. They will need water to get established and a good, deep soak now and again but areas that lack good drainage will be a problem. They don't like soggy feet! Plant your tree in full sun, or even in a partially shady spot.
If you're looking for low maintenance, this is a great choice. Arizona Cypress has few pest and disease problems and does not require regular trimming unless you want to turn it into a hedge. Right now at The Garden Center, we have 5 and 15 gallon containers of Carolina Sapphire or Blue Ice Arizona Cypress available. Pick one up today!