WSU Clark County Extension

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Sky Pencil Japanese Holly

Scientific name: Ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil'

Type:Evergreen shrubs
Plant Requirements
Zone:5 to 9
Sun:Full to partial sun
Plant Characteristics
Height:8 ft
Width:2 ft
Bloom:Spring flowers
Bloom Time:May to June
Bloom Color:Green
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description The narrow, columnar form of Japanese Holly is just right for small areas. The name Sky Pencil reflects it strict upright growth habit.

This evergreen shrub will grow to 8’ in height but stay less than 2” in width. With pruning a typical specimen will remain ‘4-6' tall, but only 1’ wide.

Leaves are elliptic to obovate (wider past the middle), small (1/2” to 1” long), and have serrulate margins, particularly at the rounded tips. The foliage resembles that of boxwood, as opposed to holly.

Tiny, greenish-white flowers appear along the stems in the leaf axils in late spring, but are not considered all that showy. Small black berries may form in the fall from these flowers, but they are not all that note-worthy.

This cultivar is easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade.

This columnar holly makes a great vertical accent in narrow spaces. Designers will often flank a doorway with 2 of these plants. One could also plant them close together to forma very narrow hedge.

No serious insect or disease problems.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
Computing and Web Resources, PO Box 6234, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-6234