Enkianthus…. I remember thinking it was a funny name for a plant when I was a child and heard my mother talking about the Enkianthus campanulatus in her garden. Now I have two Enkianthus campanulatus in my garden and I still think it’s a funny name…. and it’s fun to say!

It’s a native of the Far East, growing in mountainous areas of Japan and China. The Enkianthus campanulatus or the redvein enkianthus is a desirable woody plant for our zone 5-6 but for some reason it seems to be a rather uncommon choice for gardens around here. In early springtime the plant shines with heavy clusters of small pendulous bell-shaped blooms, white with red veined streaks. Bees of all kinds love them. Butterflies love them.

wikipedia photo, KENPEI's photo, 5 May 2008


In the summer, it’s a nice green backdrop for other blooming plants. As glorious as it is in springtime, right now, the end of October, the shrub gives us its best display. Fall hues of coppery red and orange light up the border and bring you to a halt while walking through the yard. The fall foliage for me is more of a showstopper than the blooms of spring, a time when so much else is in color.

Enkianthus 2018

Enkianthus is a slow-growing plant but I hope to be around long enough to train the shrub into a small tree with layered branches to replace the Styrax japonicus, my Japanese snowbell tree that grew in this spot and died suddenly.


7 thoughts on “Enkianthus

    • I’ve tried to encourage friends to add one to their gardens but no luck… probably because it’s just green all summer. Interestingly, it’s in the family Ericaceae, related to Rhododendron and requiring the same planting conditions…so in that more acid area the happy plants went.

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  1. When we grew it years ago, the crew thought it smelled funny when the pruned it, so called it ‘stinyanthus’, which is sort of funnier then Enkianthus. We have not grown it for years because there is not much demand for it here.


    • That is funny! It’s the blooms that some say have a unusual smell but I’ve never noticed anything at all… and I have a good sniffer. As a shrub, I’d not prune it unless there were some dead that needed to be removed. Once it’s a tree, it’ll need some correction.

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