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? Bargain skimmia or not?

I have always fancied a skimmia so when I spotted a pretty nice looking one for half price I could'nt resist. Really know nothing about them so have discovered they really need ericacious soil. Oops, ours is definately not.  First mistake, then on closer inspection  I see that some of the leaves have yellowed and are falling off.  I am thinking I could repot it in a larger pot with some ericacious compost, and  possibly feed it, and hope it will be happier. Does any one think  that is ok at this time of year?

Posts

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 33,290
    edited 16 September
    What size of pot is it in?
    Neutral soil is fine. Acidic is slightly better but not necessary. Don't feed it.
    Only put it into a pot very slightly bigger than it's in, and use a loam based medium, not just compost, although that would do for now. Keep it in a shady or semi shaded spot.
    If it's going to stay potted permanently, compost is not enough. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,114
    Sounds like a good idea. They do prefer more shadier positions, so try to place it somewhere with shade. Excess sun can also cause the leaves to turn pale. Leaf drop could be a number of reasons. Perhaps, the plant had been allowed to dry too much. Re-potting and with new ericaceous soil should be a nice start. I think, no need to feed it yet. Only feed it if you know for sure what are the issues. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 33,290
    Also- should have said - make sure it isn't pot bound and dried out before you repot. 
    Tease out the roots a little if so, and thoroughly submerge until there's no bubbles appearing. That means it's properly dampened.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Thank you Fairygirl and Borderline for your swift and helpful replies. I'm sorry I got waylaid! Tomorrow I shall investigate to see if its rootbound. I gave it a good watering but as you say, it could be a bit more dried out than it seems. The pot is 24 cm. square and looks a bit small for the size of the shrub so I will repot it. I have  some soil based ericacious  compost already opened so hopefully that will be ok?  I shall just go up in size about two inches  all round and I shall not feed it yet. It would have been perfect for my north east facing border, - I never have enough places for the sun lovers!  So I will have to find a shady spot for the container,  - makes a change! 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 33,290
    edited 16 September
    Fine in a north east aspect - anything apart from a really sunny site :)
    The soil you already have will be perfect for it. Go by the size of the rootball, rather than what the top is like, for repotting. It isn't going to grow much now anyway as it will be approaching dormancy  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Thanks Fairygirl, I hadn't thought of it that way but it makes sense, of course.
  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 1,626
    edited 16 September
    “If planted in poor and very dry soil, or if growing in full sun, the shrubs will struggle, leaves will start yellowing and plants will become spindly. This is often mistaken for iron deficiency, but skimmias are not ericaceous (acid soil loving) plants like camellias and rhododendrons. Watering, feeding and mulch will help. Alternatively reconsider their position.”

    That’s from the RHS, and they ought to know
  • Thanks for that Ben, I don't know where I read they were ericacious but as you say the RHS should know. Well that gives me more options however nothing is a doddle with our heavy clay and last time I tested it it was verging on alkaline although it seems to vary with site. I shall have to sleep on it I think!
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 33,290
    As I said - perfectly happy in neutral soil, but they are fine with slightly acidic too. It's not a narrow line that is easily crossed - it's gradual. Neutral covers quite a wide spectrum :)
    I think people do tend to think of them as the same as Rhodos, Pieris and Camellias etc, but those are also fine in neutral soil. Again, they might like acid conditions, but that isn't the same as needing them. I have to defend that statement frequently on the forum, because many people can't seem to understand it. All of those grow very well in most of Scotland, and people assume we have acidic soil everywhere. We don't  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Thanks for elaborating Fairygirl,  that's very interesting. I understand now. Goodness there's a lot to know! Now I just have to make a decision!
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