Camellia japonica 'Black Magic'

Camellia japonica ‘Black Magic’

If you’ve never been to the Camellia festival at the Portland Japanese Garden in Feb/March you really wouldn’t know that there are fantastic Camellias out there (not just the raw hamburger colored doubles that you see in front of every house). We got this amazing cultivar there and we are always on the lookout for the very true reddest Camellia. This is one of those. Glossy bright green serrated leaves make a wonderful upright growing shrub to 8′ x 4′ in 7 years. In February-April semi double huge true deep red/black flowers appear- they are profuse over the whole plant. Full sun to shade in rich, well drained soil. Regular summer water to establish then a bona fide low water plant. Woodlands, Ann Amato’s garden. Wonderful color early in the season.

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Camellia 'Nuccio's Pearl' xera plants

Camellia japonica ‘Nuccio’s Pearl’

One of the finest Camellias ever created. ‘Nuccio’s Pearl’ thrills us with perfectly symmetrical flowers that are technically a formal double. The outside petals are blushed with pink and as the center of the flower unfurls it becomes pearly white. The perfectly formed flowers appear in March and politely drop before discoloring. To 8′ tall and 4′ wide in 7 years in full sun to quite a bit of shade. Rich to average well drained soil that retains moisture. Moderately fast growing formal looking evergreen that is naturally dense with deep green glossy leaves. Light, consistent summer water. Late blooming. Excellent, long lived shrub.

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Camellia japonica 'Yamoto Nishiki'

Camellia japonica ‘Yamoto Nishiki’

Extraordinary Higo Camellia that is wildly showy and fun to grow. Higo Camellias are a form where the stamens rather than being clustered together in the center are instead splayed out in the shape of a star against smaller flat petals.  They are surprisingly rare in the United States. Its a different look for a japonica and we love it.  Moderately fast growing handsome glossy evergreen shrub for full sun to shade. To 8′ x 5′ in 7 years. Regular summer water speeds growth and increases flower bud set. Mid-season bloomer with flowers opening from February on. Rich to average soil, definitely apply ample mulch when planting. Good looking shrub at all times- w/ a somewhat formal appearance until the blooms open. 4″ wide flowers have flat petals that are white striped and stippled in peppermint red. Takes low water conditions when established. Long lived.

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Camellia sasanqua 'Double Rainbow'

Camellia sasanqua ‘Double Rainbow’

This is an extraordinary fall blooming sasanqua Camellia with very showy flowers and a nice upright habit. Large double cupped flowers emerge from a pink bud and unfurls to a pink edge with a white center. As the bloom ages it turns mostly to white with pink tinted flowers. Bloom appears from late September to  late November. Glossy, very dark green leaves are formal in appearance and a great backdrop to the profuse 4″ wide flowers. Full sun to light shade in rich to average soil with regular summer water. This improves fall bloom. Otherwise very established shrubs can get through summer with just a few drinks. As with most sasanquas the flowers have an earthy, light, sweet scent. Long lived, hardy, easy to grow evergreen with a great season of bloom. Prune if needed AFTER flowering has ended. Wonderful as a stiff upright espalier which will protect the flowers from the vagaries of weather. Stunning in bloom. Tolerates hot aspects.. To 7′ x 6′ in 8 years.

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Most of us associate Camellias with large shrubs to small trees but this is a true dwarf and it fits in very small sites.  Dwarf (slow growing) shrub with glossy green foliage and in autumn to mid-winter a constant supply of semi double rosy red flowers. To 4′ x 4′ in 10 years. Nice looking shrub that is an exceptionally heavy bloomer. This sport of  ‘Shi Shi Gashira’ which is a dark pink and very popular fall blooming Camellia. ‘Dwarf Shi shi’s ‘ flowers are closer to red than its sport parent. Full sun to very light shade. Occasional deep soaks in summer aids flower bud set.  Takes dry conditions when very established. Water regularly to establish and mulch. Sasanqua Camellias are hardier and bloom more heavily in full hot sun. Good performance at the Oregon coast where most Sasanqua Camellias languish. Not often bothered by deer. The entire floral tube detaches and falls never clinging and turning brown. Limited quantities.

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Camellia sasanqua 'French Vanilla'

Camellia sasanqua ‘French Vanilla’

A really cool winter blooming Camellia that has several surprises. The pure white single flowers that open from December to February are HUGE- up to 5″ across in full bloom. They have a boss of yellow stamens in the center that emit a light sweet scent. When blooming is over the new growth is the next surprise. Glossy deep black leaves emerge and fade slowly to deep green. Its a great foliage transition and gives the shrub extra depth. Large growing upright sasanqua to 8′ tall and 4′ wide in 7 years. Much wider with time. Great espalier subject with vigorous lithe growth. Sets tons of flower buds and if flowers are ruined by frost more will open in sequence. Full sun to part shade in rich, well drained soil. Light but consistent summer moisture. Very easy to grow shrub with spectacular flowers at a good time of the year. Fast growing to 1′-3′ per year when young. Evergreen.

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Camellia sasanqua ‘Hugh Evans’

Rare, obscure, insanely heavy blooming fall and winter blooming Camellia sasanqua. Individual flowers are not formal or stiff, instead the the petals are separated, loose and vivid pink. They appear en masse from October to January and decorate the lithe arching stems in pretty cascades of flowers. Blooms are exceptionally cold tolerant for a sasanqua enduring temperatures into the low 20’s and still remaining fresh. No bother though as a parade of buds exists to replace spoiled blooms. Full sun to quite a bit of shade- without the expense of blooming. Fast growing, vigorous open shrub that takes well to pruning in spring to encourage density- build blooming wood. Rich, to average well drained soil with light consistent summer water.  A very wild and informal appearing Camellia and we love it. Glossy deep green foliage. To 5′ x 7′ and arching. Light flower fragrance.

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Not all Sasanqua Camellias are created equally and though they all bloom in autumn to winter some have much studier flowers that are beautiful as well. ‘Kanjiro’ is an ancient Japanese cultivar and to this day it is still one of the finest. The large double dark pink flowers are exceptionally weather tolerant and will even survive freezes into the upper 20’s. Even if flowers are spoiled by frost a seemingly never ending supply of buds replaces the flowers quickly, in fact a this is a natural phenomenon for this shrub. You often get  your best displays right after a freeze when the thaw begins. Otherwise its a non stop procession of flowers from October to December. Large growing evergreen shrub with very handsome dark foliage that is good looking year round. To 10′ tall x 10′ wide in 12 years, it  may be pruned to a much smaller size or espaliered on a wall which will  protect the flowers from the vagaries of weather. Moderately fast growing with regular summer water in full hot sun. Established shrubs are very tolerant of summer drought. Long lived. There is a light earthy fragrance to the flowers. Long long season of bloom. Very nice with Grevillea x ‘Leanne’ for a prolific blooming winter display.

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Camellia sasanqua 'Li'l Rose'

Camellia sasanqua ‘Li’l Rose’

Obscure and stunning DWARF Sasanqua Camellia. Beginning in October and opening blooms through December and sometimes even later. Smaller stature than a standard Sasanqua. The double glistening pink flowers decorate the shrub in a dense way. To 4′ x 4′ in 8 years- but growing larger. Deep, deep green glossy leaves are pretty on this open and lax evergreen shrub. Full sun to light shade in rich to average well drained soil; light consistent summer water increases fall bloom set. Excellent and dainty espalier subject.  Very pretty blooms. This is a very showy a successful Sasanqua for out gardens. It fits in small places well.  It can also be pruned much smaller. Prune directly after blooming has ended.

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Camellia sasanqua 'Otome Sazanka'

Camellia sasanqua ‘Otome Sazanka’

This is one of my favorite fall blooming sasanquas. Beginning in November and continuing to about the first of the year it produces copious double flowers of a soft, antique pink. The shading of the petals give the impression of an aged flower. VERY pretty. Very dark green foliage is glossy on an upright and then distinctively arching shrub to 3′ x 5′ in 6 years. Give this elegant shrub room to spread, it will grow faster than you think. Full sun to part shade in rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Established plants can survive on just several drinks per summer. This sasanqua does not have the sweet earthy fragrance that many do. The soft pink 3″ wide flowers are born in profusion. Very easily trained as an espalier. Open flowers are cold hardy to about 27ºF. Incipient flower buds are much hardier. Good looking shrub year round. Very elegant late blooming sasanqua that is welcome late in autumn. A very old Japanese selection where this species is native.

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