Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Showy Lantern’


  • © Briggs Plant Propagators

  • © Briggs Plant Propagators

Outstanding Qualities

Enkianthus campanulatus is an understated but elegant deciduous shrub that provides year round interest. It is related to rhododendrons so thrives in our rainy climate and acidic soils. 'Showy Lantern' was chosen by the late Ed Mezitt of Weston Nursery in Massachusetts. Its bell-shaped flowers, which are produced in late spring, are larger than those of the wild type and are solid pink in color. Its dainty, deep green leaves turn rich scarlet in autumn. Unless pruned, 'Showy Lantern' is densely branched to ground level, so its habit is attractive in winter. Although Enkianthus campanulatus thrives in part shade, its fall color is strongest in full sun. It is an excellent choice for the woodland garden. Plant it with bleeding heart, sweet box (Sarcococca) and Solomon's seal for a satisfying grouping.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: shrub

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 3 ft. 0 in. (0.91 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 8 ft. 0 in. (2.44 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 6 ft. 0 in. (1.83 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 to 8

Flower Color: pink

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun to dappled shade

Water Requirements: regular watering during the dry summer weather

Seasonal Interest: autumn color

Wildlife Associations: bees, hummingbirds

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: burgundy, gold

Great Color Partners: pink, dark green, cream

Culture Notes
This slow growing shrub prefers a location in full sun to dappled shade, avoiding hot afternoon spots. The fall color is most intense with more sun, but plants in shade will still turn a beautiful clear golden yellow with orange tones. Provide a site with rich well-drained soil and regular watering during the dry summer weather. Enkianthus naturally grows with lovely layered branching and minimal pruning is needed to maintain a beautiful plant. It is easy to ruin the graceful habit with hard pruning. Consult an experienced pruner or take local classes before attempting to prune.
Geek Notes
Emailed Wayne Mezitt at Weston Nursery, MA, and he confirms that it is 'Showy Lantern' rather than 'Showy Lanterns'. CLJ Jan 2007