JAPANESE SKIMMIA

FAMILY: Rutaceae | GENUS: SKIMMIA japonica

TYPE
  • Evergreen
  • Shrubs
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Partial Shade
  • Full Shade
WATER
  • Regular Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • US (Upper South) / Zone 6
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7

Plant Details

Handsome shrub from Japan and China. Compact, slow grower to 25 ft. or taller, 36 ft. wide. Glossy, rich green leaves are oval and pointed, to 34 in. long and 1 in. wide, most often clustered toward the twig ends. In spring, 2- to 3-in. clusters of tiny, fragrant white flowers open from pinkish buds held well above foliage. Flowers are larger and more fragrant on male plants. If a male plant is present, female plants produce bright red fruit resembling holly (Ilex) berries in fall and winter; these are attractive enough to make planting both sexes worth the effort. Plants tend to be sold as simply male and female rather than by selection name. A form with ivory-white berries is available. S. j. reevesiana (sometimes sold as S. reevesiana) is looser and more open in habit, growing slowly to 1123 ft. high, 23 ft. wide; it is self-fertile, producing dull red berries.

Good under windows, beside shaded walks, flanking entryways, in containers. Prefers moist, highly organic, acid soils; must have good drainage. Mites are the main pests; they give foliage a sunburned look. Thrips may also attack. Shield from cold, sweeping winds.

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