Sky Pencil Holly

Sky Pencil Holly

  • Evergreen

  • Columnar shape

  • Vertical interest

  • Low maintenance

Regular price $39.95 Sale price $24.95 38% off

  • In stock, ready to ship
  • Inventory on the way
  • Ships in 2-3 business days (N/A to Pre Orders)
  • Buy direct from the grower
  • Family owned farm since 1980

Vertical Growth & Year Round Evergreen Foliage

The Japanese Sky Pencil Holly shrub quite literally makes an exclamation mark in your landscape! Introduced in 1992 by the National Arboretum in Washington, DC.

The ilex Sky Pencil Japanese Holly features a narrow, columnar form, making it an ideal choice for garden design, small areas, or specimen plants. Its dark green foliage holds color year round, and the small evergreen tree produces showy purple berries in the fall on female plants. Also produces dainty creamy white flowers in early spring.

The Japanese pencil trees grow great for use as a vertical accent plant, near entryways, or as a privacy screen or narrow hedge. You can also plant it in a large container for an elegant, formal appearance. The green pencil shrub maintains its columnar shape and growth habit without any pruning.

How to Plant Sky Pencil Holly 

This Japanese holly ilex crenata sky pencil, as it is named botanically, prefers slightly acidic soils that are well drained soil types. The plant will grow best in full sun to partial shade needed to keep the green colored leaves. Grow this plant across the United States in the department of agriculture plant hardiness zones 5-9. It is very cold hardy!

Be sure to water well the first year of planting to establish a strong root system. They are somewhat drought tolerant when mature, but should be watered regularly until established. A newly planted holly bush needs at least a gallon of water a week. Sky Pencil plant is a female cultivar that needs a male pollinator to cross pollinate in order to produce berries.

How Fast do Sky Pencil Holly Grow?

Wondering how fast do sky pencil holly grow? This broadleaf evergreen shrub is a slow to moderate grower. The Japanese Sky Pencil holly growth rate is up to 6-12 inches per year. Because of the vertical nature of this hedge plant, it only gets 2-3 feet wide but can be pruned narrower if preferred.  It is not very fast growing so it is not hard to keep the Sky Pencil Holly tree maintained. You can space them 1-2 feet apart for a beautiful sky pencil holly hedge.

How Tall do Sky Pencil Holly Grow?

A new Sky Pencil holly will grow about 10” until it reaches full maturity. It can reach a mature height of 8-10 feet tall.

Is Sky Pencil Holly Deer Resistant?

Deer do not usually eat japanese or sky pencil hollies, not their fruit, the inkberry, Sky pencil hollies are pretty deer resistant. A deer may come and give it a nibble or two but prefers other things to eat.

When to Prune Sky Pencil Holly

The best time to prune a sky pencil holly is in the winter as it is dormant during those months. It is easy for the Sky Pencil to maintain its narrow, columnar shape naturally and requires very little pruning. If preferred however you can trim it to keep a somewhat shorter or narrower appearance. Good pruning techniques help keep the sky pencil tree to the desired size and shape.

How to Fertilize Sky Pencil Holly

The best time to fertilize a Sky Pencil holly is in the sping. Applying a slow release fertilizer once a year to the top of the root ball will help the Japanese Sky Pencil holly greatly. After you've spread the fertilizer over the root ball area, water it to help it sink into the soil.


Sky Pencil Holly problems that may arise include black rot, green leaves turning brown or black, web blight, or leaf spots that turn into yellow spots. Good drainage is essential to help with root rot, wet or soggy soil as well as aerating heavy soils. Good air circulation will help prevent fungal diseases.

Sky Pencil Holly with brown leaves is usually a sign of underwatering. Increase the amount of water they are receiving to fix the problem. Mulching will help to retain moisture when watering the plant. We highly recommend keeping the soil moist during the first year of planting to establish the plant.We hope you love our Sky Pencil Holly for sale. Easy to grow, easy to maintain, and free of pests and diseases… it is the package deal!

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Botanical Name
Ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil'

Full Sun / Partial Shade

Foliage Color
Dark green

Flower Color

Mature Width
2-3 ft

Mature Height
8-10 ft

Growing Zones 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

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