Receive free shipping on all orders over $150 | Check out our best sellers
Cart

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

  • Sky Pencil Holly
  • Sky Pencil Holly
1 of 2
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
- +

Shipping Details:

Once your order is shipped, you’ll receive an email with a tracking number and estimated delivery date. Most orders ship immediately, but some items are seasonal and may only ship in spring or fall. These products are noted on the website.

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.

Compare Similar Products

  • Dwarf Burford Holly Dwarf Burford Holly
    • Mature height

      6-8 ft.

    • Mature width

      8-10 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      fast

  • Dwarf Yaupon Holly Dwarf Yaupon Holly
    • Mature height

      3-5 ft.

    • Mature width

      3-6 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      fast

  • Best Seller
    American Holly American Holly
    • Mature height

      20-50 ft.

    • Mature width

      10-20 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full Sun

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Soft Touch Holly 1 Soft Touch Holly
    • Rating

      rating 4 reviews

    • Mature height

      2-3 ft.

    • Mature width

      2-3 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • Best Seller
    Nellie Stevens Holly Trees Nellie Stevens Holly
    • Rating

      rating 19 reviews

    • Mature height

      15-25 ft.

    • Mature width

      8-15 ft.

    • Sunlight requirement

      Full-Partial

    • Growth rate

      Moderate

  • 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)

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

ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil'
  • Ships in 1-2 days
  • 1-Year Warranty Eligible
  • Pots or accessories are not included unless specified in the product options.
Size
Quantity
- +
Oops!

You can't add more Product Name - Product size to the cart.

OK