Skimmia are evergreen shrubs that are extremely valuable for their multi-season displays – especially in autumn and winter. Their glossy evergreen leaves provide a lovely foil to their fragrant white or yellowish flowers in April and May. Flower buds, often in attractive colours, are held throughout winter and winter berries are long-lasting.
Most skimmia varieties are either male (M) or female (F), so you need to grow two different varieties to ensure the females produce their bright red berries. There are some hermaphrodite, self-fertile varieties (SF), so only one plant is needed for fruit to develop, although even these will produce more fruit if a male is grown close by.
Skimmias prefer a position in shade, and can even tolerate positions in deep shade. Definitely avoid planting in full sun, which can cause the leaves to turn yellow. They prefer neutral to acidic soils so use plenty of ericaceous compost at planting time. If growing in containers it’s best to use John Innes ericaceous compost.