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Sky Pencil Holly

ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil'

Sky Pencil Holly
Sky Pencil Holly
Sky Pencil Holly
Sky Pencil Holly
*images shown are of mature plants

  • Ships Friday, Jan 25
  • Gift Wrapping Available in Checkout

-t- Root Rocket™ Fertilizer
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-t- TreeGator® Watering Bag

  • Product Details
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    Growing Zones: 5-9
    (hardy down to -10℉)
    Growing Zones 5-9 Map
    Mature Height: 8-10 ft. or trim to desired height
    Mature Width: 2 ft.
    Sunlight: Full-Partial
    Growth Rate: Moderate
    Botanical Name: ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil'
    Does Not Ship To: AZ
  • Product Description
    One of the National Arboretum's Elite Plants

    This popular, versatile shrub can be planted as an accent on the corners of your exterior, or 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 specific 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.

    Ideal if you want to add height or a focal point to flower beds, groundcovers, entryways, etc.

    Because of its unique shape, the 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.

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

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

    Order yours today for fast shipping - right to your door.

  • Reviews
    4.4 / 5.0
    36 Reviews
    5 Stars
    4 Stars
    3 Stars
    2 Stars
    1 Star
    sky pencil
    Love these plants. arrived in perfect condition. color is beautiful. perfect shape. I had never seen these before . Am so glad i bought them and will be ordering more. I do wish that they could be ordered taller
    October 14, 2018
    4 months ago
    Growing Zone:
    Love it!
    I love the trees!! It is not growing very much and I would appreciate any input on how to make the grow faster.
    June 22, 2018
    9 months ago
    So far so good
    Trees arrive in good condition. So far they seem happy and are adjusting to their new place. We'll see if they keep it up.
    June 12, 2018
    8 months ago
    Growing Zone:
    Sky Pencil Holly
    We ordered 4 Sky Pen Holly. They arrived quickly and in perfect condition. We've had them about a month now and they are all doing great!
    June 6, 2018
    8 months ago
    Buy the bigger one !
    Small but healthy . I hope I'm still alive to see it get to 6 feet. Lol
    Package came nicely wrapped and I had no delivery issues. Good
    June 5, 2018
    8 months ago
    It is dead. And if you don't get insurance that's it. Too bad. I had big hopes for this pretty bush. We flooded out in Hurricane Harvey and lost almost all of our landscaping.
    May 29, 2018
    1 year ago
    Growing Zone:
    Great looking trees
    First off the packaging was better than any other. I have ordered a lot of plants and etc. these came packaged better than any . The trees themselves were all (4) beautiful specimens. I just planted them and they look great. I would not esitate to order anything from this company.
    May 25, 2018
    9 months ago
    pencil holky look absolutely wonderful on row in narrow entry landscaping
    Have narrow landscaping along side entry garage and entry sidewalk and planted 6 pencil holly that look absolutely stunning!
    May 20, 2018
    Troy, MI
    10 months ago
    Growing Zone:
    I was disappointed that it was so short, but, in truth, it was advertised as 2-3 feet. Other than that, it is extremely healthy, and still looks great with plenty of new growth.
    May 16, 2018
    9 months ago
    Sky Pencil Holly
    My Sky Pencil Holly arrived in beautiful shape and are doing great in my yard. In fact I just came in from giving them a good drink of water. Glad I found these. Thanks............
    May 13, 2018
    9 months ago
    Growing Zone:
  • Questions(17) & Answers(26)
    Start typing your question and we'll check if it was already asked and answered. Learn More
    Browse 18 questions Browse 18 questions and 77 answers
    Why did you choose this? Store
    I love how they look . . so tall and slim
    Patricia M on Nov 9, 2018
    I was looking for a tree or shrub that doesn't take too much room in height or width for the front of my house entry way next to my driveway. I think this is perfect! I can't wait to plant it.
    Marisol T on Oct 6, 2018
    I love how they look . . so tall and slim
    Patricia M on Nov 9, 2018
    I have 3 that i recently purchased and they are not only a beautiful green, but a lovely addition to my yard... such that I'm now ordering more
    sylvia s on Oct 22, 2018
    I was looking for a tree or shrub that doesn't take too much room in height or width for the front of my house entry way next to my driveway. I think this is perfect! I can't wait to plant it.
    Marisol T on Oct 6, 2018
    Replacing plants
    William M on Sep 22, 2018
    The information about the plants is informative and the photos are very helpful.
    Robert R on Aug 27, 2018
    Needed a evergreen against the house that won't grow to tall.
    Paul N on Jul 16, 2018
    doesn't take up much space
    Philip R on Jul 10, 2018
    I have had these shrubs before when I lived in a previous house. They are easy to maintain and can be pruned very easily to any height you'd like, They are also unique looking, which I like.
    Cynthia O on Jul 2, 2018
    Saw this at a local store, but it was twice as much so I thought this was a good choice.
    Michael S on Jun 22, 2018
    Low maintenance & beautiful!
    Renae H on Jun 17, 2018
    arborvitaes are just to much work if you care where they are growing and it won't end well...
    David F on May 9, 2018
    Will put in clay planter pots on my backyard deck.
    Nicole H on Apr 29, 2018
    Read the positive comments this item has received in this site. Also like the unique look of this plant and its suitability to plant in Zone 6.
    trinanjan d on Apr 22, 2018
    Bernice G on Apr 12, 2018
    It fits the space we have.
    Marina G on Mar 6, 2018
    Purchased for my entryways due to height and width!
    Kathy B on Feb 24, 2018
    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
    I have 3 that i recently purchased and they are not only a beautiful green, but a lovely addition to my yard... such that I'm now ordering more
    sylvia s on Oct 22, 2018
    Replacing plants
    William M on Sep 22, 2018
    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.
    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.
    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 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.
    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 have three bushes. Our temperature can get below zero in Cleveland Ohio. The leaves stay green all year round and do not fall of during winter..
    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🌲
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
  • 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 and Care Directions for Sky Pencil Holly
  • Shipping Info

    Shipping Alert:

    You can still order, but due to cold weather, we have delayed shipping to the areas shaded on the map below. We want your new plant to thrive right out of the box, so we will wait on shipping your order until the weather is ideal. This includes anyone in Growing Zones 3, 4, or 5. 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 29th

    Zones 5

    Week of Apr 14th

    Zone 6

    Week of Apr 7th

    Zones 7-11

    Ships Now!

    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 with a tracking number.

    You may receive multiple shipments if you ordered more than one plant. This is to get your plants to you as soon as possible. However, shipping schedules can change due to unforeseen events, such as unpredictable weather. We appreciate your patience.

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    $80.00 - $98.99



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