Camellia sasanqua 'Setsugekka'

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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Camellia sinensis (Improved)

Camellia sinensis

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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Camellia x 'Coral Delight'

Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’

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 are a 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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Fantastically  graceful Camellia of complex parentage. Large spreading and arching Camellia with small glossy leaves and from 1″ distinctly pointed flower buds open masses of 2″ wide yawning flowers. The interior of the pure white flower is decorated with the yellow stamens. Most of the flowers point downward in a dainty pose that adds to this Camellias grace. To 8′ tall x 8′ wide and branching in large divided boughs that give the impression of wings. The intensity of the white flower color is amplified in the darkness of winter. Blooms late January through March. Immensely graceful and floriferous this has none of the strict formal look of most other species. (C. tsaiiC. cuspidata) x C. fraterna )  Luckily this Camellia includes the ultra hardy C. cuspidata and is not tender in the slightest. Flowers are hardy into the upper 20’s and masses of incipient buds means that the show starts again post freeze. The small fluted flowers fall cleanly from the shrub and collect in a pure white carpet. Rich soil with regular irrigation. Takes less water as it gains establishment. Part shade to full sun. A protected location helps the flowers deal with the vagaries of winter weather. Wonderful Camellia that we love at Xera.

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Camellia x ‘Yume’

This exceptional hybrid between C. yuhsienensis x C. hiemlis ‘Kan tsubaki’ 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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Camellia x cuspidata ‘Magi’s Mystery’

Our friend garden designer plantswoman extraordinaire Magi Treece spotted this Camellia and observed it over time. I too had noticed it around town- always large and VERY old. Its most conspicuous trait is to produce simple single fluted ivory flowers from pink buds. Up close these 3″ wide flowers have a decadent sweet scent. Its appearance is most like the species Camellia cuspidata which is a very cold hardy species known for its fragrant white flowers. Blooms appear from December (Often as early as November) and open until the end of February. The elegant flowers are tough and it takes some serious weather to impede or even damage the flowers. Deep green leaves are long and thin and very glossy/handsome with a sharp tip. The entire plant is good looking at all times. Ancient varieties around town are upwards of 15′ tall and 3/4 as wide. I’d say it would be an 8′ x 8′ shrub in 10 years. Regular water speeds growth and assists in bud set for the following season, this is only important in summer. Excellent specimen or hedge. This is one tough and beautiful Camellia.  Dig a large hole to disturb the soil around the planting site and set the plant in the hole even with the soil horizon. Backfill, water and mulch. Magi queried Camellia Forest about this plant with no luck. I queried Nuccio’s and their best guess was that it was a form of C. cuspidata or a hybrid close with it. Either way its one of our most favorite Camellias and we have our sweet friend Magi to thank. This Camellia looks and acts very much like an evergreen Magnolia and it could be used as a smaller substitute. The flower fragrance on warm days is a bit like a Gardenia. Moderately fast growing.

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Camellia x lutchuensis ‘Cinnamon Cindy’

She’s a great girl this Cindy. Small semi-double flowers open blush and change to sugar white. Intimately, they have the spicy sweet fragrance of cinnamon – especially on the warmest winter days. A profuse bloomer that grows as an open small tree in time. The handsome deep green semi-glossy foliage is good looking at all times. Before the flowers discolor they drop cleanly to the ground. Blooms late December to March. To 6′ tall and 3′ wide in 5 years. Average to rich, well drained soil with light, consistent summer moisture. Easy to grow wonderful fragrant reward of winter.

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Camellia x lutchuensis 'Minato no Akebono'

Camellia x lutchuensis ‘Minato no Akebono’

This lovely winter blooming Camellia hybrid includes the fragrant species C. lutchuensis and has simple HIGHLY perfumed pink flowers. The 4″ open single flowers have fluted petals that are medium pink with darker pink stains at the petal tips. Fast growing shrub that shows excellent hybrid vigor. Glossy evergreen leaves are perfect year round. Open branching pattern features the clusters of cinnamon scented flowers from December to March. To 9′ tall and 4′ wide in 8 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich to average well drained soil. Consistent summer moisture ensures superior flower bud set. Elegant Camellia that will perfume a wide part of the garden. Mine is visited by happy hummingbirds in winter. Open growing shrub. Flower fragrance is spicy, sweet cinnamon and wafts on the winter breeze. Very heavy blooming cultivar.

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Camellia x lutchuensis ‘Spring Mist’

Exceptional C. lutchuensis hybrid that imparts sweet fragrance to the profuse semi double blush flowers in late winter to early spring. Extremely heavy bloomer the smaller flower cluster in groups along the boughs- quite unlike other Camellias with a massive display . These sprays of fragrant flowers weigh down the boughs and the whole shrub is covered in blooms.  Grass green matte foliage is a handsome backdrop to the small (3″) but profuse bloom. Part shade to shade in rich, moisture retentive soil with adequate drainage. Not as tolerant of full sun as other Camellias.  Consistent summer irrigation ensures a larger flower set. To 6′ x 4′ in 6 years. Tough and elegant. Takes dry shade very well and still blooms profusely.

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Camellia x williamsii 'Brigadoon'

Camellia x williamsii ‘Brigadoon’

HUGE. The flowers on this Camellia are HUGE. Semi-double pink flowers are up to 5″ across. Don’t diss pink. No other flower does pink quite like Camellias. ‘Brigadoon’ is a spectacular hybrid that blooms for the last month of winter and the first two months of spring. Clean, glossy, deep green foliage is handsome at all times on a dense growing shrub to 8′ x 4′ in 6 years. Grows about 1′ per year. Full sun to part shade to quite a bit of overhead shade so long as it isn’t oppressive. Huge amounts of buds open to these voluptuous blossom. Excellent cold hardiness enduring temperatures just right below 0ºF with no damage. Excellent resistance to subfreezing gorge wind- it would be a great windbreak to stop that arctic blast. Flowers fall completely off of the shrub never clinging and turning brown. Easy, long lived, climate adapted shrub.

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