Enkianthus perulatus
Common Name: white enkianthus 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Ericaceae
Native Range: Japan
Zone: 6 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained, acidic soils in full sun to part shade. Best with a moist, organically rich, peaty, lime-free soil that is rich in humus. Blooms on the previous year’s growth, so any pruning should be done immediately after flowering.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Enkianthus perulatus, commonly called white enkianthus, is a compact, slow-growing deciduous shrub that typically grows to 6’ tall with a similar spread. It is native to sunny woodland areas of Japan. Urn-shaped, lantern-like, snowy white flowers (1/3” long) in drooping clusters bloom in April to early May (slightly before or at the time of leaf emergence) in nodding, umbel-like, 3 to 10 flowered racemes on wood from the prior year. Individual flowers resemble those of pieris which is in the same family (heath). Young shoots are shiny red (twigs are reddish-brown). Ovate, serrate, medium to bright green leaves have downy midribs on the undersides. Leaves are clustered at the branch tips. Upright seed capsules. Fall color is an often stunning yellow to orange to scarlet red.

Genus name comes from the Greek words enkyos meaning pregnant and anthos meaning flower in reference to the pregnant-looking flowers (prominent swelling at the base of each flower) found on some (e.g., E. quinqueflora) but not all species in the genus.

Specific epithet comes from the Latin perulatus meaning having conspicuous bud scales.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Since fall color is variable with this species, gardeners may wish to purchase plants in autumn when fall color is on display. Watch for spider mites in hot summer climates. Infrequent scale.

Garden Uses

Specimen, group or mass in the landscape. Great species for small gardens. Effective when grown with rhododendrons which share the same acidic soil requirements. Shrub borders. Foundations. Hedge.