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Male skimmia not looking healthy?

Hi all,

We planted two female skimmia plants in with the existing male skimmia we had but now the male one isn't looking too healthy?

Any thoughts please?


  • Shoxt3rShoxt3r Posts: 196
    Any ideas please? 🙂
  • Shoxt3rShoxt3r Posts: 196
    Hi all,

    So since this picture was taken I've shifted it forward from the fence panels by a few inches which has helped to some extent - new buds are appearing! The growth has been fairly slow however despite feeding every couple of weeks with a soluble plant food.

    Do skimmias normally take a while? Bear in mind we've had this one for about 5 years now and have only just started seeing a few inches of growth.

    Thanks in advance!
  • Joy*Joy* Posts: 571
    Having bought a female full of berries, I had to find her a mate. The first was ok the first year but didn't thrive and ultimately I was forced to ditch it altogether. The second went the same way.I've been third time lucky. Currently the male plant is doing so well I might have to prune it. All have been treated the same way. It's just as well that they weren't expensive to replace! The female has produced lots of berries which have produced 16 good seedlings, now in 4 inch pots. They are doing well too. I wish there were ways to tell which were male and which female, now. Anyone any ideas? I fear a long wait for flowers, when I will be able to tell.
    As to your plant, I would try taking out some of the soil and replace it with ericaceous compost if your soil is alkaline. They prefer acid conditions. Also water as far as possible with rain water if tap water is hard. I would also give it a good talking to! If you don't buck up your ideas you will become compost and a replacement will be found! This sounds ridiculous but I did that to a cactus which didn't flower - and it now has buds!
  • Shoxt3rShoxt3r Posts: 196
    edited June 2020
    Hi Joy,

    Thanks for the reply - good to know about the acidity of the soil being a need for these types of plants.

    I've picked up some Miracle Gro Azalea, Camellia and Rhododendron liquid food which it says is meant to help with acid-loving plants so we shall see - otherwise I think I'll be getting another male skimmia haha.

    As I understand it, the ones with flowers are male, while the ones with berries are female - but maybe it depends on the particular variety? In this case the male leaves are usually much darker green (hence my concern before), and the female usually produces light green leaves with red berries. I suspect the reason the colours are off is due to the alkaline soil we must have.

    Our water is hard so I may go down the rain water route too; possibly pick up a water butt to make this easier. It's probably a good thing to do anyway since I'm using the hose fairly regularly which can't be good for our water supply.

    Good tip about giving the plants a good talking to - I think that is a great approach and is sure to work!! haha.
  • Joy*Joy* Posts: 571
    Hello. To sex skimmias, when they flower you can see a green, pinhead sized 'berry' in the centre of the flower on females. This becomes the red berry if there is a male to fertilise it. The male flowers don't have this, just, I think, because I don't look that closely, spidery stamens. Holly is the same. You've done the right thing with the Miracle gro, it's what I use too. The berries are lovely, last years are still on my plant, but I adore the beautiful perfume which is very strong at the very beginning of the year. The berries are very easy to grow. I put some which had started growing before they dropped off and more which had produced shoots from under the plant, into pots and they are now quite large. How long it will be before I get any flowers is unknown and until they do flower I've no idea whether they will have berries. We shall have to wait and see!
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