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Please help!

In December I got a Skimmia Rubella and it was doing well until the past two weeks when it started to wither. The flowers lost their color and the leaves are brittle.
I am watering it as I was told when I bought it, which is not often, only when the soil is dry. I kept it in shade as I read it likes shade still it looks like this.
What am I doing wrong?

Thank you.




Are you keeping this plant indoors our outside? Only it looks like you're treating it as a houseplant, which it is not - it will not appreciate the warm, dry air inside the house. The other possible problem I see is the outer pot - I'm not convinced the plant pot inside it reaches to the bottom of the outer pot, which makes watering/drainage very difficult. What usually happens is, the water runs through the plant pot into the outer pot and there is a layer of water in the bottom that is not in contact with the plant roots, so the plant doesn't get enough, or there's a lot of water in the outer pot which is in contact with the plant roots, but either way, there's always water in the bottom which can become rank smelling; this is not good for the roots.

Try using a different outer pot or tray, preferably something where you can see any excess water in it easily, move the plant somewhere much cooler (don't move straight outdoors immediately, it needs acclimatising), trim off the flowers IF they are actually fully dead, otherwise leave them, and water when the surface of the soil is just about dry to the touch, and then water well, allowing the excess to drain out freely at the bottom. Empty the outer pot or tray after 30 minutes, and again 30 minutes later if necessary, so the plant is not sitting in water.

27 Jan, 2019


Thank you so much.

I can't keep it outside because I live in an apartment and inside it's not warm because the heating doesn't work anymore (it's the case in all the city) so I don't think it's the air. I do have an electric heater which helps.

I will try using a different outer pot to see if it makes any difference. It did cross my mind that could be the culprit but since I am not that good at caring for plants, yet, I did't know exactly if that was it. I only started recently after my mom passed away and Im finding I love plants.

How can I tell if the flowers are actually dead? I mean they withered and lost color and look really sad but other than that?

Thanks again.

Everywhere I asked I didn't get a single answer to this.

27 Jan, 2019


Re-potting it in a larger container would give you a chance to check the roots for mould & to loosen them up if they're really compacted. Then some fresh, free-draining compost would give it a boost too

27 Jan, 2019


It was hard to tell from the photo just how dead the flowers were, but if they are as you describe, clip them off at the base of their stems, above the leaves.

Sorry to hear you have no heating, that can't be much fun at this time of year, though of course, its better for your plant! Not much else you can do other than correct the watering situation as described, but certainly also check whether it needs a bigger pot - turn it out of its pot (if its soaking wet, wait for it to drain down for a few hours first) and if the roots are coiled round the outside, find a pot with drainage holes a size or two bigger (but no bigger than that) and replant in the new pot with fresh potting soil. Make sure you plant it at the same level it is now at the base of the stems, allowing about 2/3cm headroom at the top of the pot free and clear, don't fill the pot right to the top or it'll be impossible to water. The rootball should not be sticking up above the soil level, but nor should you put more soil over the top of it so that the stems are partially covered at the base. Water well after repotting - no need to break up the existing rootball, just put fresh soil round it and below it in the new pot. If you can open a window to give it a bit of fresh air occasionally, and not stand it near any heat sources, correct the watering, it may recover, though it does need to be planted outside to do really well over time, unfortunately.

If, when you take it out of the outer pot it feels really light, check the soil round the rootball by feeling it at the top and if it turns out to be really, really dry, soak it by standing it in something, pour water gently onto the soil and let the plant sit in what's collected at the bottom for an hour or two, then lift it out and let it drain down freely for an hour or so before turning it out of its pot.

27 Jan, 2019


Meanwhile, if you want to grow indoor plants, peace plants, cissus antarctica and succulents such as the money plant are tough and tolerant. I've had all 3 for years and they seem to thrive on neglect.

27 Jan, 2019 you have a friend with a garden? If you do...please give the skimmia to them and treat yourself...or swap it for a houseplant which will thrive in your home. Dragon trees are so easy and are great at improving the air in your home. Same with peace lilies. Succulents are also lovely...Aloe Vera for example. Houseplants are very fashionable right now..there are some lovely ones around. Stay cosy! :)

30 Jan, 2019


Sadly I do not have a friend who has a garden otherwise i would ve gladly given them the plant.

Thank you all for your wonderful answers. I am re-potting it today and hoping for the best. I know it should be kept outside but it was so beautiful when I got it I thought it might have a change to survive indoors.

The sad part is the plant is just all brittle. The flowers, the leaves. It's crunchy, if that makes any sense.

31 Jan, 2019


It does make perfect sense. Sounds like your plant has just dried out. But if you cut back all the dead stuff it might regrow if the roots aren't dead. worth a try. :) If you cut the crunchy stuff away and find there is green in the remaining stems...then there's a chance it will regrow.

31 Jan, 2019

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