How to grow Skimmia japonica ' Rubella'

Skimmia japonica 'Rubella' is a gorgeous evergreen ornamental shrub noted for its long lasting ornamental buds. Originating from Japan, China and southeast Asia it has a compact habit which under favourable conditions can grow to a height and spread of approximately 1-1.5 metres.

How to grow Skimmia japonica ' Rubella'
Its glossy dark-green elliptic leaves are to 10cm long and once mature create a bold backdrop for the panicles of red buds which emerge in mid to late winter. The buds eventually open in the spring revealing creamy white, fragrant blooms. Be aware that Skimmia japonica and its cultivars are dioecious which means that male and female blooms appear on different plants. Skimmia japonica 'Rubella' is a male form as so will never produce the shiny red berries characteristic of other cultivars.

Suitable for growing in the ground or as a specimen container plant, Skimmia japonica 'Rubella' will require a dappled or fully shaded, and preferably sheltered position. Avoid full sun, as this can cause the leaves to bleach out to yellow or even white!

Plant in a moderately fertile, rich, well-drained soil. Although not from the family Ericaceae Skimmia japonica 'Rubella' can suffer from lime intolerance and so should be planted into soils which have a neutral to acidic pH. Be that as it may, it has proved to be tolerate a chalky soils but only once they have been improved with plenty of well-rotted organic matter.

Container grown plants will require as large a container that can be conveniently moved, use a soil based compost such as John Innes No.3 mixed with ericaceous compost.

Once established it is surprisingly hardy, tolerant of a wide range of conditions, including frost, drought and atmospheric pollution