Hardy balcony plants: Skimmia japonica
Description of the Skimmia japonicaThe Skimmia japonica is a hardy, evergreen plant of the genus Skimmia that to the family Rutaceae or Wineglass family belongs. The Skimmia comes from East Asia and has various varieties, varying in height and flower color. The name Skimmia is the latinization of Shikimi, the Japanese popular name for this plant. Originally it is a forest plant. That is why he thrives best on a shady spot.
The leaf of the Skimmia japonica is oval, dark green and leathery. The flowers are white and bloom in clusters from March to May. They spread a sweet scent. The red berries appear in the fall and stay all winter long. Because this plant grows slowly and does not exceed 80 cm to 100 cm, it is very suitable for a balcony or terrace.
The Skimmia japonica is a two-pronged plant. That means that there are male and female specimens. Male plants are certainly attractive because of their white flower clusters but they do not bear fruit. Only the female plants do that. To do this, they need the pollination of a male plant. To achieve those beautiful berries, you need several male plants for one female plant.
There are nevertheless a few exceptions to this rule. Indeed, there are so-called 'hermaphrodite' or monoecious species that develop both male and female flowers and pollinate themselves. This allows them to bear fruit on their own. Two varieties with both berries and flowers and therefore ideal to brighten up your balcony in the winter are the Skimmia japonica obsession and the Skimmia japonica Reevesiana.
Skimmia japonica ObessionThe Skimmia japonica obsession is an evergreen shrub and very popular because of its beautiful red berries and red-brown flower buds that sit on the top of the leaves and linger all winter. A popular plant in the Christmas period! When the flower buds open in the spring, small, white, feather-shaped flowers appear that spread an odor of May bells. This shrub is ideal for small gardens or balconies and terraces. It grows slowly and grows to be 80 cm to 100 cm high.
Skimmia japonica ReevesianaThe Skimmia japonica Reevesiana owes its name to the British John Reeves who worked for a long time in China in the 19th century as a tea inspector. He was very interested in the Chinese plant world and introduced a number of special plants to the West that he had got to know in China.
The Skimmia japonica Reevesiana is an evergreen shrub and attractive in all seasons. In the fall, he wears dark red flower buds and beautiful crimson berries that linger all winter long. The red color of the berries contrasts beautifully with the dark green color of the lancet-shaped leaves. At the beginning of spring, the flower buds open and small white flowers appear that spread a sweet scent.
It is a very versatile plant: it thrives well in the garden, alone or in a group, and in borders. Its low height of up to 80 cm makes it extremely suitable for a terrace or balcony. This plant also works very well as indoor decoration during the Christmas period. He will survive a few weeks indoors.
Care of the Skimmia japonica
- Because the Skimmia was originally a forest plant, it is best to place it in a spot in the shade or partial shade with, for example, only in the morning or only in the afternoon sun. However, do not put it in full sun all day, because then the leaf edges will turn white.
- The Skimmia is an acid-loving plant and thrives well in a slightly acidic, humus-rich soil. Therefore, sprinkle generous peat around the roots.
- Water the plant regularly so that the potting soil remains moist, but provide a pot with holes in the soil so that excess water can drain away. The Skimmia does not like wet feet.
- If you give cow manure granules in the spring, the plant will flower abundantly.
- It is not necessary to prune because the Skimmia is a slow grower. In April or May, after flowering, you can cut out the faded flowers. You can also prune old branches to maintain the compact shape of the plant.