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.

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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 ‘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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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.

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Camellia sasanqua ‘Setsugekka’

One of the most successful and spectacular of the autumn/winter blooming Camellias. This classic semi-double white variety begins blooming in early November and finishes in January. The 4″ wide flowers are surprisingly and wonderfully fragrant up close- the fragrance seems to be different for everyone. For me its a sweet note with a background of moist potting soil…see? At any rate its a vigorous evergreen shrub for full sun to light shade. Sasanqua Camellias really do better in full sun- trust me. Light summer water but very drought adapted when established. To 8′ x 6′ in 6 years. Excellent as an espalier which will protect the open flowers from ungodly cold if it occurs. If flowers are frozen existing buds will usually open when it warms above freezing. Good looking tough shrub for year round appeal.

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Tea, the commercial source of black tea is a fine ornamental shrub in our climate as well. Its more than welcome in autumn when the small cup shaped fragrant white flowers peek from the stems. A rounded, good looking clean shrub with leaves that are deep green with more conspicuous venation on the surface. To 8′ x 8′ in 10 years for light shade to full sun. Great on an eastern exposure. Commercial black tea is produced by the fresh tips of the plant. These then go through a process of fermentation before it is edible. See more research. Easy to grow and somewhat more open than more commonly grown Camellias. And the leaves appear more matte as well. Regular summer water for the most verdant growth. Otherwise it accepts the same conditions as any Camellia. Blooms August to November. Blooms on wood from the previous year, prune if needed after flowering.

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Brilliant flower color cast on huge semi-double flowers are but one advantage to this handsome evergreen shrub. An upright pillar shaped habit makes it a great plant for tight spots or as a hedge or screen. To 8′ tall by 3′ wide in 8 years. The enormous 5″ wide opulent flowers area a clear and ringing coral. Showy from quite a distance and the entire shrub is clad in blooms from late January to March. Glossy pointed foliage is handsome year round. Somewhat formal dense habit lends it to small gardens, structural shrub. Full sun to quite  bit of shade in rich to average soil with regular summer water for the first several seasons. Benefits greatly from a layer of mulch after planting. Tosses its spent flowers which do not cling and discolor. Excellent shrub for Japanese themed gardens. Long, period of bloom.

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Camellia x ‘Yume’

This exceptional hybrid between C. yuhsienensis x C. hiemlis ‘Kan tsubaki’  and truly does bridge the winter gap blooming heavily from November to February. Each single flower is composed of alternating light pink and white petals and is imbued with a sweet rich fragrance. Low spreading evergreen for full sun to full shade. To 5′ x 5′ in 7 years. Excellent espalier subject which can protect the blossoms from the vagaries of weather. Rich, moisture retentive, but fast draining soils. Very heavy blooming, including in shade. In full sun it can set so many flower buds that blooms obscure the foliage. Deep almost black green leaves. The open flowers are cold hardy to about 26ºF but more will open if those are frozen. Very easy and carefree shrub. Drought tolerant when established.

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