classification
Order: Sapindales
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Skimmia
Species: S. japonica 'Rubella'

SKIMMIA JAPONICA 'RUBELLA'

Skimmia japonica 'Rubella' is one of those great 'all-round' plants, named and first described by the Paris based, French botanist Élie-Abel Carrière (1818 – 1896). It is a popular garden plant with will provide a gorgeous backdrop of evergreen foliage along with long lasting ornamental buds and blooms. Skimmia japonica is diecious meaning that male and female flowers appear on different plants. Rubella is a male form meaning that it will not produce the red berries which are characteristic of this genus.

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The parent species is a variable, small dome-shaped shrub of dense habit. Native to Japan, China and southeast Asia, it was originally discovered for western science in Japan and brought under cultivation in England around 1838.

The selected cultivar 'Rubella' has aromatic, leathery obovate to elliptical leaves. Under favourable conditions it can be expected to grow to a height and spread of between 1-1.5 metres.

However it is particularly noted for its panicles of showy red buds which appear in late winter. The buds will remain tightly shut until spring when the white, yellow anthered, slightly fragrant blooms finally open in April and May.

You can grow Skimmia japonica 'Rubella' in either full sun or semi-shade, although it will produce a more open and lax habit the shadier the position. Be aware that the leaves can become bleached in exposed, hot, direct sun. Provide a sheltered site in a moist, humus-rich, well-drained soil. It will be fine in a neutral to acid soils, but will also tolerate chalky soils so long as they been previously improved with well-rotted organic matter. 

Skimmia japonica 'Rubella' received the Award of Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1962 and the Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

For related articles click onto the following links:

SKIMMIA JAPONICA VEITCHII (FOREMANII)

SKIMMIA REEVESIANA

SKIMMIA JAPONICA 'RUBELLA'

About the Author

The 'Seeds of Eaden' website is the brainchild of professional horticulturist and multi-award winning gardener Simon Eade. After six years of study; two years 'Retail Horticulture' at Hadlow College, then four years Commercial Horticulture at Greenwich University, Simon has worked in a number of 'fields' within the industry for over twenty years. Most notably, managing the prestigious Alexandra Palace garden centre in London. Since then he has become an internationally published writer, and author of the popular 'Garden of Eaden' blog.

Simon Eade is also a recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society's Banksian medal

You can contact the 'Seeds of Eaden' at gardenofeaden@gmail.com