The perfect shrub to be our Plant of the Month now that we’re approaching Christmas, its lovely, long-lasting red berries against the dark green waxy leaves are reminiscent of a less spikey looking holly, and bring us into the Christmas spirit.
Skimmias are very easy shrubs that bear lovely fragrant flowers in spring. They are slow-growing which make them excellent for structure in the border or in pots. You can buy and plant skimmias at any time of year, as long as the ground isn’t frozen or waterlogged. Plant in soil that’s rich in organic matter and that doesn’t dry out quickly, making sure to regularly water then when grown in pots.
Skimmias do best in partial shade although they will tolerate full shade. Avoid growing skimmias in full sun which can make the leaves pale and the whole plant look sickly.
After planting, keep well watered during dry spells for the first 12-18 months. Mulching the ground over the roots with leaf mould, garden compost or chipped bark retains moisture in the soil and protects the roots from extremes of temperature but do keep the mulch clear of the stems. Applying mulch every winter/early spring keeps the soil in good condition. Skimmias growing in pots should be watered regularly and never allowed to dry out. Even during the winter months, occasional watering may be needed.