Skimmia japonica

Mary_Nashville(z7 TN)May 11, 2005

Does anyone have experience growing Skimmia japonica in the Nashville area? I was planning to use it pretty extensively in my (shady) front garden, but I haven't found it at any local nurseries. I did find good mail order sources, one in Maryland, the other in the Pacific NW, but then I read in the new edition of Dirr that he's never seen it thrive in the South, only in the mid-Atlantic. I've lived most of my life in Washington, DC, which counts as mid-Atlantic for these purposes, and it never occurred to me it wouldn't grow as well here as there. It's rated zone 6-8, and I'm sure it's the heat here that would be the problem. Anyway, if anyone has experience with it, please reply. Thanks.

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reneecd(z7 TN)

I have been toying with the idea of using it also. They have both male and female in stock at Bates nursery. I'll try to get some info from the landscape guys when I'm out there this week.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 9:07PM
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Mary_Nashville(z7 TN)

Thanks Renee. I was at Bates yesterday, saw the Skimmias, and went back and bought two females and a male today. This was after checking with Cheekwood, where I used to work, and being told their Skimmia japonicas survive but don't thrive and they think it's the summer heat, so I knew better. Aside from the fact that they were just too pretty to resist, I'm hoping the fact that these are Skimmia foremanii, which according to Dirr is actually a hybrid of S. japonica and S. reevesiana, means they'll be more vigorous. I couldn't find anybody at Bates to talk to, so please let me know what they say. Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 10:12PM
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reneecd(z7 TN)

I'll definitely talk to them when I go out there on Wednesday. Next time you're at Bates, just go into the garden center and tell one of the employees what you are looking for. They will radio a landscape person to assist you. I'll let you know what I find out about the skimmia.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 10:37PM
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jessamine(z6 TN)

i work at bates--we researched the skimmias. it looks like they are affected by the heat AND, more importantly, wet feet. they got to have well-drained soil and adequate shade to make up for the heat (they are mountainous plants by nature). if you come to bates, they are located behind the garden center. you can ask for me (jeanne) if you want--i'm there every day but saturdays.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2005 at 1:04AM
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reneecd(z7 TN)

There ya go, Mary. Jeanne beat me to it. She and I researched it together in the office yesterday. Check the drainage in the spot you intend to plant them, and consider placing them on the northwestern side of your house where they will stay cooler.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2005 at 10:08AM
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Mary_Nashville(z7 TN)

Many thanks to both Renee and Jessamine! I'll look for Jeanne next time I'm at Bates (unfortunately, that's usually on Saturdays). Meanwhile, I'm preparing a special place for the skimmias--deeply dug soil with lots of organic matter, west-northwest side of the house with lots of summer shade, and we'll see how they go. I think they'll look fabulous with some prostrate cephalotaxus, so I'll have to order more of those from Bates this fall. These skimmias are beautiful, so I hope I don't kill them.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2005 at 9:00PM
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I was just wondering how your skimmias have survived thus far here in Nashville. Are they thriving at all? I just bought several yesterday, but I am considering returning them to the garden center after having read your string...

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 3:19PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

They should make it just fine in TN if they are not put in a bad growing situation or underwatered.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 3:01PM
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