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Skimmia Japonica - Finchy - chalky soil?

Sarah248Sarah248 Posts: 28
edited February 2021 in Plants
I have a couple of container growing skimmia that are outgrowing their pots. Tipping them out today, they seem to be pretty root bound. I’d rather replant them directly into the border  but although I have pretty decent top soil, we are in a chalky area. If I put them in with a lot of compost, will they be ok? The advice online is so mixed. Some say acidic, some neutral and some say chalky is fine, so I’m feeling pretty confused! :s 

Many thanks

Posts

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,607
    I have always thought these plants were ericaceous but the RHS says not but either way they really dislike being dry so as long as you prepare a decent planting hole - twice the width of the current pot and just a bit deeper and that you mix in plenty of good organic matter to the soil it should be fine.  If you just fill a hole with compost and no mixing it will continue growing round and round as if it were still in a pot.

    Soak the root ball first to make sure it is thoroughly hydrated then tease out the roots so they are encouraged to head off out into the new soil.  Plant at the same depth as before and keep watered well for the first few weeks and then regularly thru its first summer in the ground and especially during dry spells.

    https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/popular/skimmia 
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • I have a large Skimmia japonica, and I garden on chalky soil on the south coast.  It has been in the ground for over 10 years and has developed into a fairly decent size specimen, with nice red berries and flowers that are due to appear soon.  The only issue I have with it and i think it is because of the chalky soil is the leaves are slightly chloritic ... a little faded and not a nice deep green you want from a Skimmia.  This slightly detracts from its appearance and I am tempted to take it out but don't have the heart just yet.  They are very slow growing too so if you are going to put it in the ground make sure you are 100& certain
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,607
    @GardenSpurs You can often fix chlorotic foliage with a dose of Epsom salts - dissolve 15ml of salts in 5L of rainwater and use as a foliar spray or drench.   Try it and give your shrub a chance.

    A regular liquid feed of sequestered iron will help too.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Obelixx said:
    @GardenSpurs You can often fix chlorotic foliage with a dose of Epsom salts - dissolve 15ml of salts in 5L of rainwater and use as a foliar spray or drench.   Try it and give your shrub a chance.

    A regular liquid feed of sequestered iron will help too.
    Thank you very much Obelixx, I do have some Epsom salts so will try that tomorrow.  
  • Thank you from me too, Obelixx. I can be prepared to dose mine too, just in case. 
    I’m wondering whether to dig in some slow release azalea, rhododendron granules too.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,607
    The Epsom salts thing will take a few weeks to work so be patient and also prepared to repeat it.  The magic ingredient is actually magnesium, not iron, but it can be hard for some plants to absorb enough and the lack makes foliage yellow.

    @Sarah248 - if you get the soil mix right they shouldn't be necessary but won't do any harm.  Better to scatter around after planting than mix into the soil.  Good to give an annual spring feed too.


    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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