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.
Planting & Care
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.
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.