With wonderful autumn colour and bell shaped flowers from early summer Enkianthus campanulatus is an excellent plant for afternoon shade.
Also known as the Himalayan Red Bell, and cultivars such as ‘Showy Bells’ and ‘Showy Lantern’.
The flowers appear in large terminal clusters, and in established plants you can get over 10 individual flowers in each cluster. The red veins that run through the flowers make this a very attractive plant for the garden border.
Small fruits follow the flowers and eventually the seed pods appear. Plant it between Camellias or Rhododendrons as it does like similar soil conditions. The green foliage of Camellias as a background plant heighten the impact of the flowers.
If you can grow Rhododendrons or Camellias then you will find Enkianthus campanulatus easy.
This is a slow growing deciduous shrub that may eventually reach 2m in height, often much smaller. It is a plant that prefers a slightly acidic soil, good drainage but humus rich with moisture during summer.
Before planting, dig in some well rotted compost and blood and bone, you could also check the soil ph to make sure it is neutral to slightly acidic. Mulch well to maintain a cool moist root run. A Rhododendron or Azalea fertilizer applied in spring will help promote good growth.
Enkianthus campanulatus is best not pruned at all, the plant forms a natural ‘layered’ shape and this shows of the bell shaped flowers well.
Many gardeners will take a small stem when in full flower for indoor display, so Enkianthus campanulatus can also provide fascinating cut flowers.