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Sky Pencil Japanese Holly Tree for Sale - Buying & Growing Guide

ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil'

Sky Pencil Japanese holly, Ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil,' is a plant with a lot of personality. This handsome, upright shrub is adept as a framing element in the formal garden and adds welcome height in informal settings. Its glossy, dark-green leaves are evergreen, so it has a presence even in the middle of winter. It's also an easy-care tree, bothered by few pests or diseases. Best of all, it grows well through most of the contiguous United States, with the ability to thrive in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9. Here are a few more reasons to grow a Sky Pencil Japanese holly tree:

  • Hardy down to -10 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Unlike most hollies, the leaves don't have sharp points and can be handled easily.
  • An ideal element for patio gardens — grows well in containers.
  • Ships in 1-2 days
  • 1-Year Warranty Eligible
  • Pots or accessories are not included unless specified in the product options.
Size
Quantity
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Plant Care

Sunlight

p-care-1

Grows best in either full sun or partial shade. Needs at least four hours of light per day.

Watering

p-care-2

Maintain soil moisture while the plant is young. Once established, the silver maple is drought-tolerant.

Fertilizing

p-care-3

Fertilize once per year with a formula rich in nitrogen and potassium.

Planting and Care

Author Image
by Mary Van Keuren | Gardener (30+ Years Experience) – last update on March 23, 2022

Planting instructions

Site your Sky Pencil holly in a space that gets full sun. It grows best in slightly acidic soil that drains well. Dig a hole that’s twice the width and the same depth as the plant’s root ball. Unpot the plant and tease out any encircling roots, which can slowly girdle the tree and kill it. Place the plant in the hole. Holding it upright, fill in around the roots with soil that’s been mixed with organic matter, such as well-rotted manure or compost. Tamp down the soil as you go to eliminate air pockets. Water thoroughly, and mulch with bark chips or another organic material to help the soil retain water.

Watering and nutrients

The Sky Pencil likes moist soil, especially when young, so water weekly during the tree’s first year. Monitor the soil carefully: if it is dry 1 inch below the surface, give your tree a thorough watering. Once it is established and growing well, you can taper off your supplemental watering. If you are experiencing very dry or drought-like conditions, however, give it regular water. Fertilize your Sky Pencil in the spring with a slow-release fertilizer designed for landscape plantings.

Pollination

The Sky Pencil holly produces small white flowers during the summer, followed by tiny black fruits in fall if it is pollinated. The Sky Holly is a female cultivar, meaning its flowers only have female plant parts on them. It will only produce the fruits, which are poisonous and not edible, if you plant it near another type of holly with male flowers.

Pruning

The Sky Pencil does not need regular pruning; it should maintain its vertical habit with little help. Occasionally you may need to trim out a broken or diseased branch or one that mars the shape, and you can also trim lightly at the top to control the height.

Pests, diseases, and animals

Pests that might find your Sky Pencil holly appealing include aphids, scale insects, and holly leaf miners. Horticultural oil can help with scale and aphids, while leaf miner infestations should be pruned out and destroyed, and the bush treated with an insecticide. Diseases of hollies include canker, which causes damage to the branches — prune out any that show sunken areas. Holly scorch occurs in late winter and can cause brown leaves — plant your shrub away from windy areas or cover with burlap in the winter to avoid.

Achieving maximum results

In addition to its use as a focal point in the garden, the Sky Pencil Japanese holly can be easily container-grown. Two Sky Pencils in decorative urns will look spectacular flanking a brick walkway or front doorway, for example. They make a great backdrop for a patio garden, as well, providing a verdant backdrop for flowering plants such as dahlias or zinnias. Planted close together, Sky Pencils can be used as a hedge, with its height regulated by judicious trimming of the top.

If you are growing your Sky Pencil in a container, note that it may need more water than your garden-grown plants. You will also need to fertilize it regularly with a general-purpose slow-release product. Every other year or so, unpot your plant and refresh the soil, trimming back encircling roots.

FAQs

How tall does the Sky Pencil holly get?

A healthy Sky Pencil holly will generally max out at about six to eight feet. You may be able to keep it somewhat shorter through trimming, although it is preferable to allow the tree to assume its natural, pleasantly vertical shape on its own.

How easy is it to grow a Sky Pencil holly tree?

The Sky Pencil holly is an easy keeper. It is tolerant of a broad range of soil types, though it prefers its soil to be slightly on the acidic side. It is tolerant, also, of shade, although you will get the most robust growth if it receives a minimum of six hours of direct light a day. The Sky Pencil isn't bothered by air pollution, making it a good choice for urban gardens and landscapes, and although it likes moist soil, it can handle some drought with little problem. About the only extra care you need to consider for your Sky Pencil is a burlap wrapping if you live in an area with severe or windy winters.

How fast does the Sky Pencil holly grow?

The Sky Pencil holly isn't a fast grower. You may get between 6 and 12 inches of new growth a year, depending on the health of the plant and weather conditions. Most of that growth will be in the plant's height, since it retains a narrow width throughout its life, with a diameter of no more than 2 to 3 feet.

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    • Sunlight requirement

      Part Shade Preferred-- Tolerates Full Sun in Cooler Zones

    • Growth rate

      Fast

  • Sold Out
    Christmas-Palm closeup Christmas Palm Trees
    • Mature height

      8-10 ft Indoors 
      10-25 ft Outdoors

    • Mature width

      4-8 ft Indoors 
      5-10 ft Outdoors

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Sold Out
    Japanese Blueberry Trees Japanese Blueberry Trees
    • Mature height

      35 ft.

    • Mature width

      30 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Slow

  • Mamey Sapote Cuban Fruit tree Mamey Sapote Cuban Fruit Trees
    • Mature height

      25 ft.

    • Mature width

      25 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Norfolk Island Pine Tree 1 Norfolk Island Pine Trees
    • Mature height

      5-8 ft. (Indoors)

    • Mature width

      2-5 ft. (Indoors)

    • Sunlight requirement

      Partial Sun

    • Growth rate

      Slow

  • Weeping Norway Spruce Weeping Norway Spruce Trees
    • Mature height

      4-15 ft.

    • Mature width

      4-15 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Fast

  • Cleveland Pear Tree flowers Cleveland Pear Trees
    • Mature height

      30-40 ft.

    • Mature width

      15-20 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Fast

  • Eastern Red Bud flowers Eastern Redbud
    • Mature height

      20-30 ft.

    • Mature width

      10-15 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Part Sun (4 hours minimum) or Full Sun  

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Crimson King Maple Crimson King Maple Tree
    • Mature height

      40-50 ft.

    • Mature width

      25-35 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Coconut Palm Coconut Palms
    • Mature height

      20-30 ft. at 10 years

    • Mature width

      5-10 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Slow

  • Okame Cherry Tree 1 Okame Cherry Tree
    • Mature height

      20-30 ft.

    • Mature width

      20-30 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Pink Variegated Eureka Lemon Tree Pink Variegated Eureka Lemon Tree
    • Mature height

      10-15 ft. pruned

    • Mature width

      6-8 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Sold Out
    Fuyu Persimmon  close-up Fuyu Persimmon Tree
    • Mature height

      12-15 ft.

    • Mature width

      10-12 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Slow

  • Sold Out
    Canary Island Date Palm Tree Canary Island Date Palm Tree
    • Mature height

      10 ft. at 15 years
      30-60 ft. at Maturity

    • Mature width

      20-30 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Slow

  • American Arborvitae Tree American Arborvitae Trees
    • Mature height

      25-30 ft.

    • Mature width

      3-5 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Sold Out
    Snow Fountains Weeping Cherry Tree Snow Fountains Weeping Cherry Tree
    • Mature height

      8-15 ft.

    • Mature width

      6-8 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Slow

  • Bottle Palm Tree Bottle Palm Tree
    • Mature height

      5-7 ft Indoors
      10-20 ft Outdoor

    • Mature width

      6-8 ft Indoors  
      10-15 ft Outdoors

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Slow

  • Silver Maple Tree Silver Maple Tree
    • Mature height

      50-80 ft.

    • Mature width

      35-50 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Fast

  • Lavender Standard Topiary Tree Lavender Standard Topiary Tree
    • Mature height

      2-3 ft.

    • Mature width

      2-3 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Fast

  • Key Lime Tree Key Lime Tree
    • Mature height

      8 ft. pruned

    • Mature width

      6-8 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Owari Satsuma on vase Owari Satsuma
    • Mature height

      8 ft. pruned

    • Mature width

      10 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Dwarf Cavendish Banana on vase Dwarf Cavendish Banana Tree
    • Mature height

      8-10 ft.

    • Mature width

      6-8 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Fast

  • Little Gem Magnolia Little Gem Magnolia
    • Mature height

      15-20 ft.

    • Mature width

      8-10 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Deodar Cedar Tree Cedar Deodar
    • Mature height

      up to 70 ft.

    • Mature width

      20-40 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Fast

  • Ice Cream Banana Tree Ice Cream Banana Tree
    • Mature height

      10-15 ft.

    • Mature width

      8-10 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Fast

  • cherry laurel 1 Cherry Laurel
    • Mature height

      30 ft.

    • Mature width

      15 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Barbados Cherry tree Barbados Cherry
    • Mature height

      10-12 ft.

    • Mature width

      10-15 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Fast

  • Sold Out
    Hong Kong Orchid close-up Hong Kong Orchid Tree
    • Mature height

      15-25 ft.

    • Mature width

      15-25 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Sold Out
    Goldspire Ginkgo leaves Goldspire Ginkgo Tree
    • Mature height

      14-16ft

    • Mature width

      5-6 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Slender Hinoki Cypress Slender Hinoki Cypress
    • Mature height

      8-12 ft.

    • Mature width

      4-5 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Slow

  • Japanese Snowbell Japanese Snowbell Tree
    • Mature height

      20-30 ft.

    • Mature width

      15-25 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Slow

  • Sold Out
    Red Japanese Maple Tree Red Japanese Maple Tree
    • Mature height

      15-20 ft.

    • Mature width

      15 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Best Color- Part Shade Tolerates Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Sold Out
    Chinese Pistache Tree Chinese Pistache Tree
    • Mature height

      25-35 ft.

    • Mature width

      25-35 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Valencia Orange Tree Valencia Orange Tree
    • Mature height

      8 ft. pruned

    • Mature width

      3-4 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Gold Nugget Mandarin Tree Gold Nugget Mandarin Tree
    • Mature height

      8 ft. pruned

    • Mature width

      8-12 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Sold Out
    Sapodilla Tree Sapodilla Tree
    • Mature height

      30-50 ft.

    • Mature width

      20-30 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Blue Point Blue Point Juniper
    • Mature height

      4-12 ft.

    • Mature width

      2-8 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Sea Grape Bush Sea Grape Bush
    • Mature height

      6-8 ft.

    • Mature width

      6-8 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Flame Thrower Redbud Tree Flame Thrower Redbud Tree
    • Mature height

      15-20 ft.

    • Mature width

      15-20 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Part Sun (4 hours minimum) or Full Sun  

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Taylor Juniper Tree Taylor Juniper Tree
    • Mature height

      15-20 ft.

    • Mature width

      3 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry tree Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry Tree
    • Mature height

      15-25 ft.

    • Mature width

      15-25 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Part Sun

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Blue Atlas Cedar Tree Blue Atlas Cedar Tree
    • Mature height

      40-60 ft.

    • Mature width

      30-40 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Slow

  • Sweetbay Magnolia Sweetbay Magnolia
    • Mature height

      30-50 ft.

    • Mature width

      20-25 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Bloodgood Japanese Maple Bloodgood Japanese Maple
    • Mature height

      15 ft.

    • Mature width

      15-25 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Best color- Part Shade Tolerates Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • American Sycamore tree American Sycamore Tree
    • Mature height

      70 ft.

    • Mature width

      50 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Fast

  • Skyrocket Juniper 1 Skyrocket Juniper
    • Mature height

      15 ft.

    • Mature width

      2-3 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Spartan Juniper close-up Spartan Juniper
    • Mature height

      15-20 ft.

    • Mature width

      4-5 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Fast

  • Ruby Red Grapefruit tree Ruby Red Grapefruit
    • Mature height

      15-20 ft. unpruned

    • Mature width

      8-10 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Jane Magnolia Jane Magnolia
    • Mature height

      10-15 ft.

    • Mature width

      5-10 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Coral Bark Japanese Maple Coral Bark Japanese Maple
    • Mature height

      15-25 ft.

    • Mature width

      10-12 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Best color- Part Shade Tolerates Full Sun in cooler regions

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Bonfire Patio Peach leaves Bonfire Patio Peach Tree
    • Mature height

      4-5 ft.

    • Mature width

      4-5 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Blue Moon Wisteria Vine Blue Moon Wisteria
    • Mature height

      25 ft.

    • Mature width

      6-8 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • White Spruce Tree White Spruce Tree
    • Mature height

      40-60 ft.

    • Mature width

      10-20 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • American Pillar Arborvitae tree American Pillar Arborvitae
    • Mature height

      25-30 ft.

    • Mature width

      4 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Fast

  • Dakota Pinnacle Birch 1 Dakota Pinnacle Birch
    • Mature height

      30-34 ft.

    • Mature width

      10-12 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • 3 Dwarf Alberta Spruce Dwarf Alberta Spruce
    • Mature height

      6-8 ft.

    • Mature width

      4-5 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Slow

  • Magnolia Trees Magnolia Trees
    • Mature Height

      Varies by variety

    • Mature Width

      Varies by variety

    • Sunlight Requirement

      Varies by variety

    • Growth Rate

      Varies by variety

  • Large Oak Tree Oak Trees
    • Mature Height

      Varies by variety

    • Mature Width

      Varies by variety

    • Sunlight Requirement

      Varies by variety

    • Growth Rate

      Varies by variety

  • Eastern White Pine Pine Trees
    • Mature Height

      Varies by variety

    • Mature Width

      Varies by variety

    • Sunlight Requirement

      Varies by variety

    • Growth Rate

      Varies by variety

  • Hawaiian Hibiscus Hibiscus Trees
    • Mature Height

      Varies by variety

    • Mature Width

      Varies by variety

    • Sunlight Requirement

      Varies by variety

    • Growth Rate

      Varies by variety

  • Bright Japanese Maple Tree Japanese Maple Trees
    • Mature Height

      Varies by variety

    • Mature Width

      Varies by variety

    • Sunlight Requirement

      Varies by variety

    • Growth Rate

      Varies by variety

  • White Bark Trees White Bark Trees
    • Mature Height

      Varies by variety

    • Mature Width

      Varies by variety

    • Sunlight Requirement

      Varies by variety

    • Growth Rate

      Varies by variety

  • Blue State Flowers State Flowers
    • Mature Height

      Varies by variety

    • Mature Width

      Varies by variety

    • Sunlight Requirement

      Varies by variety

    • Growth Rate

      Varies by variety

  • Conifer Trees Conifer Trees
    • Mature Height

      Varies by variety

    • Mature Width

      Varies by variety

    • Sunlight Requirement

      Varies by variety

    • Growth Rate

      Varies by variety

  • Honey Locust Trees Locust Trees
    • Mature Height

      Varies by variety

    • Mature Width

      Varies by variety

    • Sunlight Requirement

      Varies by variety

    • Growth Rate

      Varies by variety

  • Arizona Cypress Cypress Trees
    • Mature Height

      Varies by variety

    • Mature Width

      Varies by variety

    • Sunlight Requirement

      Varies by variety

    • Growth Rate

      Varies by variety

  • Bonsai Tree Bonsai Trees
    • Mature Height

      Varies by variety

    • Mature Width

      Varies by variety

    • Sunlight Requirement

      Varies by variety

    • Growth Rate

      Varies by variety

  • Cedar Trees Cedar Trees
    • Mature Height

      Varies by variety

    • Mature Width

      Varies by variety

    • Sunlight Requirement

      Varies by variety

    • Growth Rate

      Varies by variety

  • Flowering Cherry Blossom Trees Cherry Blossom Trees
    • Mature Height

      Varies by variety

    • Mature Width

      Varies by variety

    • Sunlight Requirement

      Varies by variety

    • Growth Rate

      Varies by variety

  • Crape Myrtle Trees Crape Myrtle Trees
    • Mature Height

      Varies by variety

    • Mature Width

      Varies by variety

    • Sunlight Requirement

      Varies by variety

    • Growth Rate

      Varies by variety

  • Dogwood Blooms Dogwood Trees
    • Mature Height

      Varies by variety

    • Mature Width

      Varies by variety

    • Sunlight Requirement

      Varies by variety

    • Growth Rate

      Varies by variety

  • Fuchsia Plant Fuchsia Plants
    • Mature Height

      Varies by variety

    • Mature Width

      Varies by variety

    • Sunlight Requirement

      Varies by variety

    • Growth Rate

      Varies by variety

  • Torch Lily flowers Torch Lilies
    • Mature Height

      Varies by variety

    • Mature Width

      Varies by variety

    • Sunlight Requirement

      Varies by variety

    • Growth Rate

      Varies by variety

  • deer-resistant
    Deer Resistant
Mature height
8-10 ft. or trim to desired height
Mature width
2 ft.
Sunlight requirement
Full-Partial
Growth rate
Moderate
Botanical name
ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil'
Shipping exclusions
AZ, OR
Grows Well In Zones
5-9
map
Growing Zones: 5-9
(hardy down to -10°F)
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