Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’

Japanese Skimmia

A fantastic value plant for year-round interest, with attractive spires of burgundy buds held throughout Autumn – Winter before opening into soft pale blush flowers in Spring. A small compact evergreen, perfect for part to full shade in a bed or container display.

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Origin: South East Asia, China and Japan
Genus: Skimmia
Species / Cultivar: japonica 'Rubella'
Common Name: Japanese Skimmia

Plant Biography

‘Rubella’ is a popular male cultivar of Skimmia japonica, a species that grows wild in many parts of South East Asia, China and Japan. The genus name was created by European botanists from the Japanese word for the plant, which is ‘Miyama shikimi.’ The first record of Skimmias grown in Europe was at Kew Gardens in 1838.

Like most of cultivars it has bred to stay reasonably compact. Some are even occasionally selected for bonsai cultivation, but the original species can grow to 6m tall.

Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’
Soil: Ericaceous
Will not tolerate an alkaline pH, so pot in ericaceous compost if site is not neutral to acid.
Growth Rate: Medium
Expect to see moderate growth during growing season.
Water Requirement: Medium
Once it is established, this plant is likely to only require watering during drier periods.
Maintenance: Low
Minimal skill or input needed beyond the basics, a very independent plant.
Situation: Part Shade to Full Shade
Can enjoy several hours of direct sunlight, but also happy in full shade.
Eventual Height: 0.5-1m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 1-1.5m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Fully Hardy
Will survive unprotected outdoors in most areas of the UK, even in the harshest winters.
Habit: Evergreen
Always in leaf throughout the year. It won't lose all its leaves at any one time.

Expert Tip

‘Rubella’ is a male cultivar, which you will need to have on hand if you have female cultivars that you want to bear berries.
Popular with gardeners and pollinators

Popular with gardeners and pollinators

The flowers are lightly fragranced and the dark leathery foliage has a subtle aromatic scent, adding sensory interest to even the smallest garden. Skimmias are versatile shrubs, often used to fill gaps in larger mixed borders or to create smart container displays that live colour all through the colder months. They are also very suitable for creating low screening or hedges due to their dense evergreen habit.

Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

They will tolerate some sun with very attentive watering in the summer, so it’s much easier to keep them looking good in a shadier spot. If you have chalky or alkaline soil, it is better to keep them as container specimens using neutral or ericaceous compost.


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