Ilex "Sky pencil" vs. Euonymus "Green Spire"

acw2355July 29, 2013

RE: Ilex "Sky pencil" vs. Euonymus "Green Spire"

Has anyone grown these plants? Did you have a preference for one over the other?

I was looking for a narrow but tallish plant to plant as a privacy screen in a small area. Both will grow well in my zone (7b). They seem very similar in habit and I like both. Just wondering if others have had experience with each plant.

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I have a sky pencil holly in zone 8b and in southern facing sun. It seems to do really well there. Not sure if there are different types of them that fit different climates. Mine seems pretty tolerant of low water conditions too.

It will throw up shoots though as it grows in height which if you are looking for a formal look may look a bit scraggly.

Not familiar at all with the other.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 10:24AM
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IME, Euonymus 'Green Spire' has some long term issues in the PNW. While I think the plant is extremely attractive and very useful as a narrow profiled accent shrub, it often experiences significant dieback from a fungal pathogen, Oidium euonymus japonici, which occurs only on Euonymus japonicus cultivars. The result is rather unattractive unless pruned out and then you are left with holes in the plant and an uneven form. I have also seen the plant die outright from this problem. Also, the upward sweep of its branching sometimes relaxes and you get odd, directional growth that detracts from the columnar form and needs to be removed.

'Sky Pencil' has proven to be a very reliable plant here but with a narrower profile than the euonymus and a slower growth rate.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 2:18PM
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jkom51(Z9 CA/Sunset 17)

I have the Euonymus "Green Spire" and haven't been impressed with it. I've definitely gotten the "odd directional" growth that I've had to prune off, and I've found that altho it lives with little water, it doesn't like it.

Irregular watering creates "bare stem" areas on the branches. They don't fill in when it gets water, the euonymus just puts on a growth spurt so you have this silly segmented look:

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 5:34PM
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Thank you for the replies which convinced me that the Ilex Sky pencil was the way to go.

A local nursery was having a 25% off sale today and lo and behold they had several of the Ilex 'Sky pencil' so I ran down after work, bought eight, and planted them tonight. ( I know, worse time of year to plant...) I have alternated them with Nandina 'Gulf Stream' along a 4' high chain link fence and am pleased already at how the plants contrast each other.

They face west and get midday sun from overhead roughly 1130 to 430 pm. There is an existing sprinkler system although it's just as easy to hand water the row.

Thanks again for the thoughtful answers.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 12:56AM
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