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.
In good conditions this is a naturally tidy plant that requires little to no pruning. It can be pruned lightly after flowering if need.
This is a tree like shrub that needs to be left to grow to avoid over production of water shoots.
You can selectively thin or open up the plant if required, however wait until the plant is around 6 – 8 years old before you do this.
Many gardeners will take a small stem when in full flower for indoor display, so Enkianthus campanulatus can also provide fascinating cut flowers.
- Botanical Name – Enkianthus campanulatus
- Common Name – Himalayan Red Bells.
- Family – Ericaceae
- Position – Part shade, boring sun afternoon shade.
- Soil – Well drained humus rich is best, slightly acidic similar Camellias ets.
- Height – To around 2 metres
- Spread – To around 1 metre.
- Foliage – Mid green turning orange and bright red in autumn.
- Flowers – Red bell shaped with white veins.
- Flowering time – Spring to Early Summer
- Drought tolerant – Moderate tolerance once established.
- Frost tolerant – Yes