Plant of the Month: November

Skimmia

Welcome in autumn with our plant of the month, the skimmia. It comes into its own around now and there’s so much to love about this high-performing evergreen. The long-lasting berry varieties look festive as we head towards Christmas. It also has an abundance of flower buds that appear in autumn and bloom fragrantly in spring.

One of the best compact shrubs is Skimmia japonica subsp. reevesiana. Its displays of bright red berries are glorious, and birds love the berries. Grow a female and male variety close to each other so the female will bear fruit. Ask for advice in Garsons if you’re unsure.

The skimmia is compact, slow growing and doesn’t need much care. It thrives best in partial shade, although it can tolerate full shade. Plant it under taller shrubs, where it can have dappled shade and avoid the full strength of the sun in the warmer months. It likes moist, well-drained soil, and will benefit from some mulch to keep in the moisture. Make sure it is well-watered. If it becomes too big or straggly, cut it back after it has flowered and it will bounce back.

It mixes well with other plants and is suited to growing in a container. Its buds and berries look good with heuchera and holly bushes. The skimmia is a great choice for a country garden or a woodland style garden. It looks lovely mixed with ornamental grasses in prairie style planting. Alternatively, it can be container grown in a shady courtyard garden or even in a window box, or anywhere shady where you can appreciate the spring scent of the flowers.  

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