The Q&A Archives: Skimmia

Question: I bought a japanese skimmia dwarf female from a local home depot. Your library does not include something bought in your store. My question is what ration of male do I need and why doesn't the store sell the mate. Another question is why does each store's stock such differ so much. I saw a

Answer: The two varieties of Skimmia generally grown here are japonica and reevesiana. So here are a few things you should know about each one:

Skimmia japonica. This variety needs a male pollinizer in order to set berries. Male plants are slightly larger than female plants, attaining heights of up to five feet at maturity. They have much large flower clusters. Male plants are always labeled as such.

Female plants bear berries when a male pollinizing plant is present. Flowers in the early stages of bloom may be tinged pink, but soon open white and are fragrant. Oval shaped leaves are two to four inches long. In addition to the red berried varieties, there is one that produces white berries.

Skimmia reevesiana. A very attractive dwarf variety that seldom attains a height of over two feet, and a width of two to three feet. The major benefit of this variety is that it is self-pollinating, so only one plant is needed set berries. Fragrant white flowers are followed by the late fall and early winter red berries.

Since you cannot find a male, you may want to grow Skimmia reevesiana, the self pollinating Skimmia.

The plants carried in each garden center are generally ordered by the manager. You might talk with the garden manager about the plants you are looking for. In some stores, the Proven Winners hanging baskets are extremely popular and sell out fast so that may be why you cannot find duplicates in all garden centers.

Good luck with your garden!

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