Skimmia Rubella

A Informative Guide to Skimmia Rubella

One of the best plants to have in your garden is one called the skimmia rubella.  This plant is great for providing a splash of color to your garden during the entire year, as well as a sweet fragrance in the spring.  Furthermore, they make great border plants along a driveway or garden, and can be planted in containers as well.  A combination of a lovely fragrance and delightful flowers makes the skimmia rubella a prized plant for any garden or home.

The skimmia rubella is actually known to botanists by its full name: Skimmia japonica rubella. The ‘rubella’ portion represents a cultivar, or a variant of a species of plant or flower.  In the case of this plant, rubella represents a compact, male version of the skimmia japonica. If you want to propagate this plant you will need male and female plants.  This plant is recognizable due to its broad, dark green leaves with red edges. The most noticeable characteristic of the rubella, however, is comprised of the colorful flower buds that appear on the plant in the fall and winter.  For female plants (not the rubella variant), small red fruit will appear on the flowers as well.

This plant stands anywhere from 20 to 71 inches tall, with a 30-inch spread and leaves that are anywhere from three to four inches long.  The flower buds are approximately three inches tall, and the flowers that emerge and bloom from them in the spring are small with white petals and yellow antlers.  Rubellas are also very hardy, living in hardiness zones seven through nine, and can resist a variety of environmental conditions, such as pollution and clay soil.  The soil can be acidic as well, as long as it is well-drained, moist, and in at least partial shade.

If you plant a skimmia rubella, it is important to protect it from pests.  Aphids in particular love to eat this plant, especially the leaves.  To keep it protected from the ravaging effects of a swarm of aphids, consider introducing ladybugs into your garden. They will eat the aphids but will not eat the plant itself.  Scale insects will also infest your rubellas from time to time.  They will attach themselves underneath the leaves in the form of tiny bumps and will suck the sap from your plant.  You can use pesticides, but be sure to consult with your local environmental office before doing so. Parasitic wasps can also help because they frequently feed on scale insects.

Because the plant is an evergreen, it will remain all throughout the year.  One thing to note in addition to this is how the plant is situated.  If you use the rubella as a border plant, note that it will spread, thereby taking up more space than you would imagine just by looking at the shrub when you first get it. If planting more in a row or group, be sure to have at least a foot on all sides around the plant when you put other rubellas in the ground next to it.

In summary, you would be hard pressed to find a better plant for your garden that can survive in a variety of conditions, including acidic soil, cold climates, and atmospheric pollution.  This attractive plant grows anywhere from 20 to 71 inches and bears pretty white flowers during the late winter and spring.  Just be sure to keep the scale insects and aphids from eating its leaves, and you will be fine.  This plant is easy to grow and care for and provides you with a pretty plant with a great fragrance for your enjoyment.