Sky Pencil Holly

As low as $49.99 was $49.99
Availability: In stock

Dramatic upright evergreen! If you need some instant definition or strategic screening in your yard, Sky Pencil Holly (Ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil') works beautifully all year long. It's sure to turn heads wherever you plant one.

No matter how small your yard is or how little planting space is available, there's always room for a Sky Pencil Holly! Just as the name implies, the Sky Pencil Japanese Holly has a pencil-thin growth habit. This dramatic evergreen Holly cultivar creates a very narrow punctuation point anywhere you place it. It reaches up into the sky, creating a tight, column effect. You'll gain a marvelous vertical accent with this easy-care shrub. Dark green elliptic leaves fill out the branches nicely.

Sky Pencil is a female cultivar that needs a male pollinator in order to produce small, yet pretty purple berries. You will need to plant a male Ilex crenata nearby if you want to see the small dark fruit. With or without the fruit, Sky Pencil has handsome foliage and a totally unique form.

Sky Pencil Holly is truly a one-of-a-kind plant and a must-have for any discriminating gardener. Order today!

How to Use Sky Pencil Holly in the Landscape

Some evergreen shrubs can outgrow their allotted space, but not Sky Pencil. This is a well-behaved, columnar evergreen that can work extremely hard in your garden design and provide year-round greenery.

Use a single specimen plant in your perennial bed at a curve or bend to mark the moment of transition. Or, use Sky Pencil as a repeating design element to give a strong structure to your design.

Another wonderful way to use this special plant is in mass plantings to provide an effective low privacy screen in a narrow side yard or another tight spot. For a solid screen, plant Sky Pencil a bit less than 2 feet apart (measuring from trunk to trunk) The plants will grow together.

Use this screening spacing to hide your garbage cans with style!

For an Instagram-ready modern look, plant them in containers and use on your patio. Pair with other evergreens, such as Dwarf Alberta Spruce or Blue Arrow Juniper for a lovely, curated collection. Try your hand at the specialized pruning art of topiary. Sky Pencil Holly makes a wonderful 3-ball topiary and front porch accent for all seasons.

  • Narrow Columnar Form
  • Perfect Hedge Plant
  • Well Behaved Evergreen Accent Shrub
  • Great Container Plant
  • Specimen Plant, Garden Structure & Architectural Accents

#ProPlantTips for Care

The Sky Pencil Holly will grow in sun or partial shade, transplants easily, and requires no pruning to maintain its remarkable shape. However, it does adapt well to an occasional trim should you prefer to manage its size. This is the perfect small garden plant or condo patio plant.

It's adapted to a wide range of climates but requires well-drained, slightly acidic soil to perform at its best. Give them full sun and keep the soil moist to keep that beautiful foliage green in color.

Container plants need good water drainage and a consistent water source, plus 3-4 inches of mulch over the top of the soil always helps both potted and in-ground plants. Their root systems won't tolerate poorly drained soils.

In colder hardiness zones, move containers to a protected patio, or unheated garage, or an east-facing location out of the sun, or even an unheated garage with a window after the plants have gone dormant in late fall or early winter. Do not let them dry out excessively.

  • Full Sun & Partial Shade
  • Moderate Moisture Needs
  • Rarely Needs Pruning - Very Well-Behaved
  • Any Well-Drained Soil
  • Appreciates Mulch & Needs Winter Protection In Cold Climates

This is a wonderful introduction from the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington D.C. in 1992. A non-traditional Holly with extraordinary features, the Sky Pencil is sure to bring beauty to your yard in every season and for years to come. Order yours today!

Buying Options for Plants

Nature Hills sells a large variety of plants with several options available. Plants are offered in both potted containers and as dormant bare root without soil. Here is a helpful resource to understand your options as you create a beautiful landscape with help from Nature Hills.

Ever wonder what a larger plant will mean for your landscape? Container Sizes are really all about the age of the plant!

Seasonally, Nature Hills offers hand selected, high quality bare root trees, shrubs and perennials. Bare root plants are sold by height from the top of the root system to the top of the plant. Plants may be taller than the height minimums.

  • Popular sizes of select trees are 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, etc.
  • Popular sizes of select bare root plants is 1 foot, 18 inches, etc.

Nature Hills Container Size by Volume

Keep in mind, specific varieties and different growing conditions can affect the rate at which plants grow. Variations in size may occur.

Young Plants to 18 Months
Size Volume
2"x2"x3" Ranges from .18 to .21 dry quarts / .198 to .23 dry liters in volume
4.5" Container Equal to .65 dry quart / .72 dry liter in volume
Sprinter Pot Equal to .63 dry quart / .69 dry liter in volume
4" Container Ranges from .31 to .87 / .35 to .96 dry liter in volume
6" Container Equal to 1.4 dry quarts / 1.59 dry liters in volume
1 Quart Equal to 1 dry quart / 1.1 dry liter in volume
5.5" Container Equal to 1.89 of a dry quart / 2.08 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x5" Ranges from .8 to 1.1 dry quarts / .88 to 1.2 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x6" Ranges from 1.0 to 1.3 dry quarts / 1.1 to 1.41 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x9" Ranges from 1.1 to 2.1 dry quarts / 1.2 to 2.3 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x10" Ranges from 1.7 to 2.3 dry quart / 1.87 to 2.53 dry liters in volume
Plants 18 Months - 2.5 Years Old
Size Volume
2 Quart Equal to 2 dry quarts / 2.2 dry liters in volume
#1 Container Ranges from 2.26 to 3.73 dry quarts / 2.49 to 4.11 dry liters in volume
5"x5"x12" Equal to 3.5 to 4.3 dry quarts / 3.85 to 4.74 dry liters in volume
Plants 2 - 4 Years Old
Size Volume
#2 Container Ranges from 1.19 to 1.76 dry gallons / 5.24 to 7.75 dry liters in volume
#3 Container Ranges from 2.32 to 2.76 dry gallons / 10.22 to 12.16 dry liters in volume
Plants 3 - 5 Years Old
Size Volume
#5 Container Ranges from 2.92 to 4.62 dry gallons / 12.86 to 20.35 dry liters in volume
#6 Container Ranges from 5.25 to 6.01 dry gallons / 23.12 to 26.42 dry liters in volume
#7 Container Ranges from 5.98 to 6.08 dry gallons / 26.34 to 26.78 dry liters in volume

About Plant Sentry™

Plant Sentry is designed to protect both consumers and the nursery trade from invasive plant pests and diseases. Sites that display the Plant Sentry protection badge are protected from consumers buying and nurseries shipping material carrying invasive pests and diseases.

This proprietary eCommerce software prevents the shipment of a restricted plant to each state. The Plant Sentry system includes a shipment certification program. The Plant Sentry Compliance Officer works closely with and each nursery or fulfillment center to ensure only compliant plants are sold to customers.

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Plant Sentry


To obtain a more accurate shipment time-frame, simply enter your zip code in the “Find Your Growing Zone” box to the right. Our plants are grown all over the country and lead time on items may be different because of this. Once your order is placed, you will also receive the specific shipment time-frame information as part of your order confirmation. Once an item ships, you will receive shipment notification and tracking numbers, so you can follow along while your plant travels to your doorstep. We use FedEx, UPS, or USPS at our discretion.

Due to winter weather we have put a hold on shipping to the areas shown below in grey. You can still order now and we will ship the plant to you during an appropriate time for your zone.

*If you have found your zone already, it will be highlighted in the table below.
Color Zone Times
3 Spring 2019
4 Now
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Shipping Rates

At Nature Hills we handle, package and ship the products you order with the utmost care to ensure healthy delivery. Shipping and handling charges are calculated based on the tables below. Please note that some items include an additional handling surcharge, these will be noted on the item's product page.

From To S&H
0 - 19.99 24.99
20 - 49.99 29.99
50 - 69.99 34.99
70 - 99.99 39.99
100 - 129.99 44.99
130 - 149.99 48.99
150 - 150+ Approx 28%

Click here to see our full rates


Sky Pencil Holly Is Suited to Grow in Zones 5-9
Growing Zones 5-9
More Information
Brand Nature Hills' Choice
Botanical Name Ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil'
Type Broad-Leaved Evergreen
Mature Height 6 - 8 feet
Mature Spread 1 - 2 feet
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Soil Well Drained
Moisture Moderate
Growth Rate Medium, Slow
Foliage Color Green
Fall Color Evergreen
Pollinator Friendly Yes
Pruning Time Late Winter