Native to Japan. Upright stems with tiers of nearly horizontal branches; plants are narrow in youth, broader in age, but always attractive. Leaves are grouped or crowded near branch ends, turn orange or red in autumn. Clusters of nodding, bell-shaped flowers bloom in spring. Like rhododendrons, these shrubs require moist, well-drained acid soil enriched with plenty of organic matter such as peat moss or ground bark. Prune only to remove dead or broken branches. Plant in location where silhouette, flowers, and fall color can be enjoyed close up. Deer don't care for these plants.
E. campanulatus. REDVEIN ENKIANTHUS. Slow-growing shrub to 1020 ft. tall and half as wide. Bluish green, 1- to 3-in.-long leaves turn brilliant red in fall. In late spring, pendulous clusters of yellow-green, red-veined, -in.- long bells hang below leaves. 'Red Bells' has red flowers and notably deep red fall color. 'Showy Lantern' produces an abundant display of cherry-red blooms and has orange and red fall color. E. c. albiflorus bears white blooms; E. c. palibinii bears deep red blossoms. E. c. sikokianus has deep red flowers streaked with pink and yellow; autumn leaves are orange and red.
E. cernuus. Seldom over 10 ft. tall and wide, with bright green, 1- to 2-in.-long leaves. White flowers. Better known than the species is the variety E. c. rubens, which has translucent deep red flowers in late spring.
E. perulatus. WHITE ENKIANTHUS. To 68 ft. high and wide. Roundish, medium green, 1- to 2-in.-long leaves; exceptionally good scarlet fall color. Small white flowers open in early spring before leaves emerge.