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Jess is in the Garden

I have 2 of these, both planted in shade and previously very dark green and glossy.

One of them has started to go rather yellow though - is this because I haven't made the soil acid enough, or something else? The other one is still glossy green and only a foot away, but one leaf is starting to turn yellow on it.

Also, although both produce glorious white flower panicles in Spring, the berries that come from them are pitiful - never usually more than a smattering at a time, maybe 5 per plant (and these are 3 year old plants).

Do they need to be male and female planted together for there to be berries or is something else not quite right?




Hi Jess, Skimmias often look a little peaky in the winter, sometimes made worse by sitting in cold wet soil. There are varieties with both male and female flowers but most I've seen for sale are either male or female. If you go to a nursery or garden centre at flowering time and ask, they should be able to show you the different flowers. Easier to see than to have described in writing I'd have to say. Once you've seen the difference it's easy.

As your plant have some berries, they've clearly got female flowers,( which can produce infertile berries ) but maybe not male. If they are solely female, one male variety planted nearby will do the trick.

Buy Sequestrin from a garden centre and following the packet instructions, water the shrubs. Sequestrin is ACID which Skimmia, Heathers, Azalia, etc. require. The leaves will green-up in spring.


Sequestrin will help if there's an iron deficiency but ericaceous plants can also get anaemic looking if they are short of magensium.  To fix this, give them a foliar feed of 1tbs/15ml of Epsom salts dissolved in 1 gallon/5 litres of water.  Use a watering can to sprinkle it on the leaves.


Jess is in the Garden

I didn't know about magnesium obelixx - thanks.

And thanks to big too - I wasn't sure whether Sequestrin would just wash away with all the rain we've had (and keep getting) - unless there's a more solid form than the liquid I have used in the past?

The Sequestrin should not be too dispersed and will be taken up by the roots. I must admit I forgot about Epsom Salts but it certainly would not harm to apply some - may as well throw everything at the Skimmia.

Jess is in the Garden
Thanks everyone - really useful advice. Best to feed now or wait until spring? Very mild here in London and no night frosts yet.

Skimmia are as tough as old boots so will not suffer from a bit of southern frost!

Jess is in the Garden

Hi hostafan, have a bit of a dilemma as regards the male and female plants.

I'm sure you're right and I probably do have 2 female plants (grrr - would have been so nice if the garden ctr could have advised me a bit better there!), but my garden is also tiny and I wouldn't have space for a 3rd skimmia.

Is it at all possible, as with fruit trees, to cross pollinate my existing plants, which are large and lovely, so I don't have to uproot one of them and replace it with a male?

I suspect the answer will be no...!


Thank you 

There are hermaphrodite forms of skimmia producing flowers amd berries without other,skimmias and act as pollinators. ,  I grow a Cornish variety called "Redruth".

Cold you grow another variety in a pot?  

In my experience most of,the skimmias dislike too much sun, a soil that's too alkaline and harsh frosts.  So, a neutral soil, some dappled shade and some protection would be good.

Sequestrene may not be necessary.  Try Epsom salts first.  This is very cheap and effective.  


Jess is in the Garden

Thanks Verdun - that's useful. Maybe I could shove a male Rubella in a pot nearby, if I can find any shady space left! I have rather overfilled my tiny garden already....

Yes get,it in there Jess.  You know you can prune skimmias?  To keep them compact.  

Jess is in the Garden

Ah! I thought they didn't like pruning and fought back! Was putting me off sticking a Rubella in the ground, as 1.5m width and height would swamp my bed!

Ah!  You don't  really want skimmias much smaller than that Jess. I wonder if there are dwarf varieties of skimmia ....will check them out.  


There is a smaller variety of skimmia called Bowles Dwarf, a male.  Another dwarf but female called Godries Dwarf

my skimmia's leafs have all gone brown, has it died ?


Hello John38

Can we have a photo please?

And a few more details - how long have you had it? Where's it planted?  What sort of soil?  What's your feeding/watering regime?  Sun/shade etc.  That sort of thing.

To post a photo you need to click on the green tree icon on the toolbasr above where you type your post, and follow the instructions

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