Free Shipping on Orders $125+

You are in Growing Zone:


  Hurry... (Ends in )

9:30am-5pm EST

You Get Potted Trees... Not "Bare Root" (see why)
Checkout Shopping Cart: (0) Items
  • Sky Pencil Holly for Sale

    Sky Pencil Holly for Sale

    Sky Pencil Holly for Sale

*images shown are of mature plants

Sky Pencil Holly

ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil'


1. Height

  • Ships week of Mar 26

2. Quantity

3. Extras

-t- Planting Mix
Sky Pencil Holly Planting Mix

Helps your Sky Pencil Holly get established in a fraction of the time, become more drought tolerant, and grow faster. Here's how:

Beneficial Bacteria... It's like a Probiotic for your tree... creating an explosion of fine hair roots that vastly improves nutrient and water uptake.

Course Organic Compost... loosens and improves all types of soils while promoting proper pH levels. You get better drainage and moisture retention.

Microbial Fertilizers... including Sea Kelp, Yucca, and 100 other elements proven to gently feed your tree without burning the roots.

Use 1 bag of Planting Mix for each plant ordered.

Soil Contents
-t- Root Rocket™ Fertilizer
Root Rocket™ Transplant Fertilizer

2oz. Packet

Get your new plants off to the right start by using Root Rocket™ Transplant.

This soil amendment contains 16 strains of mycorrhizal fungi, biostimulants, beneficial bacteria and Horta-Sorb® water management gel.

Simply sprinkle the product into the planting hole adjacent to the root ball when planting.

The organisms will start to work right away supplying the roots with much needed nutrition.

The specially formulated Horta-Sorb® will reduce transplant stress and aid in water retention.

1 packet per plant

Root Rocket Fertilizer
-t- Planket™ - Frost & Cold Protection
PLanket 10-20 ft.

Protect your sensitive plants and shrubs with the Planket™

Benefits include:

  1. Lightweight fabric allows your plants to breather while also protecting them from the frost and cold winds.

  2. 6ft. round size makes it easy to protect sensitive container plants.

Add A Decorative Pot

Growing Zones: 5-9
(hardy down to -10℉)

Growing Zones 5-9
You are in Growing Zone: 6

Mature Height:

8-10 ft. or trim to desired height

Mature Width:

2 ft.


Full Sun, Partial Sun


2-3 ft.

Growth Rate:


Drought Tolerance:


Botanical Name:

ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil'

Does Not Ship To:


Sky Pencil Holly- One of the National Arboretum's Elite Plants

This popular, versatile shrub can be planted to accent your home, either in rows for a narrow hedge, or alone as an ornamental.

However you use it, expect little maintenance.

You'll be fascinated by the Sky Pencil Holly's shape - growing skyward naturally without the need for trimming (unless you want to keep them at a desired height).

If you are looking for a sleek, updated, stylish look, use these Japanese Hollies with their tall, narrow, columnar shape.

Very few shrubs can give you this kind of height without encroaching on nearby plants.

Perfect for when you want to add height or a focal point to flower beds, groundcovers, entryways, etc.

Because of this unique shape, its possibilities are endless. No matter where you plant your Sky Pencils, their spectacular form will attract attention!

It's one of the few plants whose branches grow upward, which is why it got the name Sky Pencil.

Our larger trees have more advanced root systems, meaning they will adapt quicker to your environment while producing faster growth.

Recent increases in demand have left this plant in short supply.

Order yours today for the latest in landscape looks.

Customers who bought this item also bought...

Customer Reviews

4.3 / 5.0
24 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Stars
I live in NM. The description says that these trees can receive 8+ hours full light, which I'm sure is true, but probably not southern NM, AZ or TX full light! It gets very hot and dry here. Even when watered 2-3 times per week it just couldn't stand up to our extreme heat. So if you live in these areas and you're not planting in a shaded area of your house, I don't recommend this tree. Otherwise, the trees were beautiful and came in great condition
January 1, 2013
over 5 years ago
I bought two of the Sky Pencil Hollies to go on each side of the garage door. I wanted something that would be tall and narrow and not hide the brickwork on the garage. I planted them early last fall and they look great. They arrived looking very healthy and packed very well. I couldn't be more pleased.
January 1, 2013
over 6 years ago
I ordered two of these plants. The one that is thriving is beautiful and doing well. The other that is around four feet away from the healthy one has the same amt. of sunlight, water, good soil, etc., but is dead or dying. Why? Who knows? In any case, I can only give a "medium" rating since one is excellent and the other plant is poor.
November 2, 2014
over 3 years ago
Growing Zone:
We received our order on the day expected, and not only were we impressed with such a fast delivery, but with the quality too... WOW, we were completely happy to see that these bushes were as strong and healthy and sturdy as we hoped and that they came in the size that was stated on your website.  We have ordered from other on-line nurseries before ONLY to be disappointed and never ordered from them again; and we were hesitant to try another on-line nursery; so I must say, we will definitely continue to shop with your company again in the future
January 1, 2013
Not for central Florida they lived 3 months.
January 1, 2013
Tom's Take on the Sky Pencil Holly
I ordered the 1' to 2' sky pencil holly in June of 2015.
When they arrived they were very lush and healthy plants and were a bit over 2'. They have since grown and withstood high temps and humidity here in the middle of Kansas,
They are growing very nicely and I would recommend them as a focal point in your yard and landscaping
August 8, 2015
over 2 years ago
Growing Zone:
Hardy and Elegant
This is a very attractive tree which so far is doing quite well in a large patio pot, and it survived a harsh Washington DC winter where temps fell to around 10 or even a bit below.
July 24, 2015
Washington, DC
over 2 years ago
Growing Zone:
Arrived in beautiful shape
Much better than what you see in big box store garden centers. Packed ingeniously and effectively. Have been acclimating and watering them for a week+ and they are already sprouting new green leaves.
August 19, 2015
over 2 years ago
Growing Zone:
Good value
The bushes came through shipment very well. They are very green and healthy. My only suggestion for shippers is to try to match specimens in terms of fullness when ordering in pairs.
June 11, 2016
Iowa City, IA
1 year ago
Growing Zone:
Too early to tell
Really don't know what to expect just 2 months after planting. It lost some foliage shortly after planting but now growing back. Haven't seen much growth yet even though we have had a great growing season with lots of rain and heat
July 24, 2015
Mayfield hts, OH
over 2 years ago

Planting & Care

It's Easy to Plant & Care for Your Sky Pencil Holly

Sky Pencil Holly Planting Diretions

The Sky Pencil Holly (ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil') is a unique holly tree known for it's upward growth of the branches, hence it's name as they "reach for the sky." They are a very versatile, drought tolerant, adaptable type of Japanese Holly that is commonly grown in USDA growing zones 5-9. These full to partial sun lovers will grow to a mature height of about 8-10 feet if left un-pruned and a thinner, mature width of about 2 feet. The Sky Pencil is practically maintenance free, fantastic as accents to your property and can fit almost anywhere without encroaching on nearby plants.

Selecting a location: Choose a planting location with ample sunlight and protection from harsh winds. Although partial sun is tolerable, plant in a site that offers full sun whenever possible. For best growing results, make sure the soil is rich, has a slightly acidic pH and that it drains well—planting conditions similarly suitable for rhododendrons and azaleas.

Planting directions:
1) Dig the hole twice the width and the same depth as the Sky Pencil’s root ball.
2) Carefully place the tree in the center of the hole, hold the sky pencil straight and begin to back fill with the removed soil. Add organic matter to the soil as necessary to improve drainage.
3) Tamp down the soil as you fill to prevent any air pockets from forming.
4) Water the planting site to settle the soil and then mulch to retain sol moisture.

Watering: Water your Sky Pencil Holly regularly to help the root system become well established. As a good rule of thumb, check soil surrounding your tree to make sure it’s moist, but not soggy. If the leaves become pale green in color this could be an indication that too much water is present in the soil.

Fertilization: Fertilize your Sky Pencil Holly tree once annually with a slow-release fertilizer.

Weed Control: If weeds begin to invade the planting area around your Sky Pencil Holly, simply remove them making sure to take out the entire root system of the weed if possible; otherwise, use a herbicide to resolve the problem.

Mulch: Sky Pencil Holly’s benefit greatly from the application of mulch. Adding mulch will also add a layer of protection from frost during the winter. Spent coffee grounds work well particularly when added to acid rich soils.

Planting & Care

Questions & Answers

Start typing your question and we'll check if it was already asked and answered. Learn More
Browse 19 questions Browse 19 questions and 73 answers
Why did you choose this? Store
I need a tall plant that will not spread out to go between my drive and house. I've seen some locally and they are very attractive and will fit my gardening plan perfect at least in my mind.
james o on Dec 6, 2017
To screen side of deck from street
James B on Sep 29, 2017
I need a tall plant that will not spread out to go between my drive and house. I've seen some locally and they are very attractive and will fit my gardening plan perfect at least in my mind.
james o on Dec 6, 2017
To match one I already had
Paula K on Oct 1, 2017
To screen side of deck from street
James B on Sep 29, 2017
fast growing, limited space
JANE E on Sep 27, 2017
I have a tight space and I need privacy
Laurie B on Sep 23, 2017
makes a good screen without much maintenance
Mark R on Aug 26, 2017
tight space where i need height
Cori P on Aug 10, 2017
Fine them to be a unusual and neat looking tree.
Mike T on Aug 10, 2017
Tall and narrow with unique and interesting growth pattern.
Ryan N on Aug 4, 2017
to create privacy from a house next door
Patricia B on Jul 9, 2017
I needed plants that would grow up, not out next to the fence. These hollys look like the would fit the bill. Can't wait to get them.
Mary J on Jun 25, 2017
Wanted a variety of trees
Robin R on Jun 19, 2017
Love holly and the shape and heights of these plants are what we would like for our space. Can't wait for at least one to reach ten feet high. We ordered three :)
Linda C on May 21, 2017
I needed an evergreen to match one one the other side of the front of my house. I wanted one that had a small width that would grow 10+/- feet. I hope it will grow a bit this year. It's now the same size as when I planted it last fall.
Maryann T on May 8, 2017
I wanted this form.
Connie M on Apr 10, 2017
Needed a vertical element in our 12',X12' garden area surrounding our flagpole
Sandra R on Apr 8, 2017
using these as property seperation. I have 9 of these currently and they are doing well throughout the property.
CLYDE D on Apr 6, 2017
Wanted a thin, shorter evergreen that is low maintenance.
Christine B on Apr 1, 2017
I had some hedges that I would like to remove and these look like the trees I want to replace these with. Also, I feel they will give my landscape an uplift.
Van H on Mar 21, 2017
They will create a distinctive accent for my yard
Randall W on Feb 25, 2017
I love they way the Only straight up
Carole C on Feb 13, 2017
I did choose Sky Pencil Holly because first of all, I think it is a lucky evergreen plant which evidence were demonstrated by the growing upward direction of its branches.Secondly, I was attracted with its unique shape and beautiful lush green color in the pictures. Thirdly, I choose SPH to provide privacy screen . Most importantly, it needs very little maintenance according to the ad info and can withstand either high or cold temperatures according to some reviews.
Rachelle A on Jan 30, 2017
Slender Evergreen to be placed along a walkway they will grow 2 - 3 feet wide, height only 8 to 10 feet. I will place colorful perennials in between the sky pencils. They are hardy and basically maintenance free.
kathleen w on Oct 9, 2016
I bought the Sky Pencil Holly to provide a screen with very low maintenance.
Ken S on Oct 9, 2016
Looking for a narrow barrier screen between neighbors and pool, a plant that is not deciduous.
Brian N on Oct 8, 2016
Hoping this does well in my area. I need a vertical evergreen element to a small section of the yard. If these two do well, then I will be ordering more in the future. Revamping the yard and will spend the next couple years working on it. I live in Chesapeake, VA so our weather can really be a solid hot humid zone 8.
ELIZABETH M on Sep 27, 2016
Needed something narrow on either side of front door.
Teresa J on Sep 11, 2016
trying to spruce up my front gated yard--something tall and skinny and this I am sure will do the trick--plus they look lovely
Chanda E on Sep 1, 2016
My friend placed these in pots in her back yard. Thought they looked stunning! Am hoping mine will look equally as good.
lynn h on Aug 30, 2016
Needed a narrow evergreen for the front corners of our home
Winona T on Aug 28, 2016
nice and slender
Ingrid D on Aug 12, 2016
In designing the landscape for the hillside of my rear yard I chose to use the Sky Pencil Holly (a tall slender plant) to place in front of the rear fence to hide its existence and to bring attention to the other plants in the adaption of a European Garden. In addition I found the pricing reflected through TBK Inc., to be the best values and will refer them to clients and others.
Patricia R on Aug 8, 2016
Kevin C on Jul 31, 2016
I am buying this to dress up a white stucco wall that reflects far too much Colorado sunshine into the house.
Alison R on Jul 28, 2016
Don G on Jul 8, 2016
I want to create privacy in my small overexposed yard
Linda B on Jul 3, 2016
Side of house in flower garden
Charles B on Jun 30, 2016
It fits into the area that I am going to plant it..
Mary Ann P on Jun 11, 2016
elegant and works well in small corner.
NEILE Q on Apr 16, 2016
I'm in not way a gardener and am just trying something different for the area of my front porch. Hope I selected the right scrubs. The sky pencil holly's are just different from what I had there.
Dawn R on Apr 1, 2016
Slim form, evergreen leaves, slow growing, hardy.
MARCIA S on Nov 28, 2015
Looking for a evergreen with low maintenance to add vertical height to a backyard patio.
John B on Nov 8, 2015
Perfect for garden sitting room!
Donald N on Oct 26, 2015
Needed something with a small diameter for landscaping purposes
Charlotte T on Oct 17, 2015
I have limited space and wanted something that was narrow and would keep its leaves.
Kerry S on Oct 8, 2015
I bought 4 from you before - they are beautiful, and healthy.......I now have room for more.
Joann L on Oct 4, 2015
To match one I already had
Paula K on Oct 1, 2017
fast growing, limited space
JANE E on Sep 27, 2017
Do deer eat these?
Carole S on Apr 11, 2015
BEST ANSWER: Though a hungry deer will eat almost anything, Sky Pencil is not on their list of favorites and is considered deer resistant.
What time of the year is a good time to plant a sky pencil in Central Florida?
linda m on Feb 2, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Plant in the spring or fall.
How long will it take to grow from 2 ft. to 5 to 6 ft. in height? I live in western Washington.
Dale A on Sep 13, 2015
BEST ANSWER: The Sky Pencil Holly grows about 12-18 inches per year.
If I plant them two feet apart, will they form a continuous screen over time? Or will there always be gaps between the plants? Thanks!
Emily on Apr 27, 2017
BEST ANSWER: I planted a row of 9 sky pencil holly with each spaced 2 feet apart-on center; as noted on the instructions. I am confident that over time they will fill in the spacing to join a continuous hedge.
Good luck and happy plantings🌲
Can I plant this tree in October?
A shopper on Oct 1, 2014
BEST ANSWER: Yes, I think Spring is optimal. Most likely it will do well after having been planted in Oct as well.
I live in Michigan and would like to plant these as privacy. They would also have to be planted about 8ft from our inground pool. How are the root systems?
sandy P on Dec 28, 2016
BEST ANSWER: They do not have invasive roots systems, so you should be fine planting near a pool.
How long does it take to reach 10 feet?
Tattoo Bill on Jul 17, 2016
BEST ANSWER: That depends on how big the trees are that you order. The ones I got were 3-4 feet tall when they arrived and are now -- 3 years later -- about twice that. In another couple of years they might be 10 feet tall. Also, it depends on how much sun and water they get -- mine get morning sun until about noon, but I keep them pretty consistently damp. Hope this helps.
Since this is a holly, I assume it has berries?
Genny on Oct 9, 2014
BEST ANSWER: No berries, they look more related to the boxwood family than the Holly.
Do these plants attract mosquitoes?
Kelly on Jun 4, 2017
BEST ANSWER: They don't seem to attract mosquitoes. I have to say I never looked for that specifically, but I've had sky pencil hollies for years and never noticed a problem with mosquitoes.
Does it stay green all winter.? I get as low as zero degrees here..Do the leaves stay on it?
Patricia C on Aug 14, 2016
BEST ANSWER: I live in NJ where it gets pretty cold in the winter too. I have only had this for one winter which was a pretty mild one, but it did not lose its leaves and stayed green
I live in a townhouse that has association rules. I can't put the plant in the ground but I can use a pot. I need some privacy from the road can I use a pot ? Will it survive even in the winter im in chicago.thank you
Addison on Dec 26, 2017
BEST ANSWER: I live in NY and mine are potted in plants and they have survived the winter (which granted is not as cold as Chicago). I think it is important to use a big pot and use mulch for some root insulation. Good luck.
I live in Redding Ca. We had an abnormal summer of 70+ days of 100 degrees. Will this plant manage that with two or three days of watering?
Guy P on Oct 12, 2017
BEST ANSWER: I'm not sure as I live on the east coast.
Is this holly tolerant of walnut trees?
Elizabeth M on Aug 6, 2017
BEST ANSWER: To be safe we would recommend that you space them at least 30 Feet away from Walnut Trees.
Do you prune these when a branch is hanging out of place do you clip it off ??
Kathy on May 27, 2017
BEST ANSWER: If a branch is hanging from your Sky Pencil Holly you can clip that off.
I live in Phoenix, AZ. Do you recommend the Sky Pencil Holly?
Linda Y on Feb 22, 2017
BEST ANSWER: The growing zones are 5-9. Click the link to look up what growing zone you are in.
Are sky pencils shallow root?
Mary R on Oct 19, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Sky Pencil Hollies have non invasive tap roots.
do ;you need a male and female with the Japanese sky pencil holly.? I know the regular holly needs a male to pollenate the female holly
john m on Jun 9, 2016
BEST ANSWER: No you do not need a male and female.
Should I wrap my new sky pencils's for winter in Michigan?
Carol P on Oct 18, 2015
BEST ANSWER: Thank you for contacting us. These trees are pretty hardy. However, you can add extra layers of mulch around the trees as added protection for the root system. If you will experiencing extreme weather conditions you can also place burlap or a blanket around the trees to protect them. Please contact us should you have additional questions. We can be reached at 1-888-504-2001 option 1.

Shipping Details

Most items ship the next business day unless otherwise noted

Estimated Shipping Time: Most orders ship immediately, however some orders may ship in 1-2 business days (we do not ship on the weekends) from date of purchase. As noted on the website, some items are seasonal, and may only ship in spring or fall. Once your order is shipped, you'll receive an email from with a tracking number.

Shipping Alert:

Due to cold weather, we have suspended shipping to the areas that are shaded on the map below. Please view the diagram to determine if your area has been affected. This includes anyone in Growing Zones 3, 4, 5 or 6. If you are unsure of your growing zone, visit our Growing Zone Finder.

We will resume normal shipping in the Spring. Please see the table below for your approximate ship date.

Zone Map


Shipping Resumes

Zones 3 & 4

Week of Apr 30th

Zones 5

Week of Apr 16th

Zones 6

Week of Mar 26th

Zones 7-11

Ships Now!

Shipping Cost

Amount of Order


Less than $15











32% of order