Q. Why do my potted skimmias' leaves look yellow and almost burned in early spring?
Skimmia japonica (Rutaceae family) is a beautiful evergreen shrub of dainty proportions used in foundations, plant boxes, and mixed broadleaf evergreen plantings.
Skimmia foliage tends to bleach or burn if exposed to direct sunlight. Partial or full shade is best for this evergreen plant, especially in winter when foliage is apt to discolor.
To protect potted Skimmia's root system and leaves in winter, wrap pots in bubble wrap and burlap secured with twine. The wrapping safeguards the plant's root system from heaving brought on by the freeze-and-thaw cycle. Extending this wrapping 4-6 inches above the top of the pot will also protect the leaves. If not protected during harsh winters, the leaves will experience some winter burn, caused by reflective sunlight from snow and drying winter winds.
Skimmias thrive in moist, acid, high-organic-matter soils. If the soil isn't acidic enough, the plant's leaves may yellow from chlorosis.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service