Aroma Gardens Landscape Design
Bookmark on del.icio.us  Digg it! site finder
Get Ubuntu
 

Plant of the Week 28/5/2009: Camellia sasanqua

Culture: Camellia sasanqua Camellia sasanquas are native to eastern and southern Asia. Camellias are highly adaptable with regard to soils but they tend to be very slightly drought tender. Camellias are at their happiest in slightly acidic soils pH 6-7 (zones 7 - 9).

Position: In their native habitat Camellias are under-storey plants. Generally speaking, flower colour is the best delimiter for position. Reds and dark, rich pinks prefer partly sunny to dappled shade, whereas lighter pinks and whites prefer dappled light to full shade.

Flowers: In Autumn Camellia sasanqua are the first Camellias to bloom, producing dainty soft flowers. There are so many good varieties of C. sasanqua it's a hard task to short-list a few... but some of my favourites are;

  • 'Edna Butler' has soft pink, semi-double flowers. Valued for it's strong, tall growth 2-3m and good hedging qualities.
  • 'Jennifer Susan' with soft pink, semi-double flowers is another strong grower, although not as tall as 'Edna Butler', 'Jennifer Susan' at 2m is good for hedging and is an excellent variety for espalier.
  • 'Little Pearl' is a gorgeous, dainty shrub 1-1.5m with compact growth. Pink buds open to a white peony-like form with pink tips.
  • 'Marge Miller' is a semi prostrate, pendulous shrub <1m tall. Bright pink informal double blooms cascade down the stems. 'Marge Miller' looks great spilling over a rock wall.
  • 'Paradise Sayaka' is a semi prostrate, pendulous shrub <1m tall. Bright pink informal double blooms cascade down the stems. 'Marge Miller' looks great spilling over a rock wall.
  • 'Shishigashira', 'Kan-tsubaki' grows to about 1-2m and the taller 'Tachi-kan-tsubaki' stands at 2-3m. Whilst 'Shishigashira' is strictly speaking, C. hiemalis 寒椿 (かんつばき), 'Shishigashira' is commonly listed with sasanquas. It holds its flowers well: does not eject its petals like most of the sasanquas do. 'Shishigashira' has bright, eye-catching crimson-red double blooms and forms an excellent hedge. 'Shishigashira' is the best Camellia variety on this list.

Care: Camellia sasanqua is a tough plant, however, they do like a 6 weekly application of Seasol and the addition of compost will always improve the pH of the soil for them.

Propagation: During the warmer months take cuttings that include a few nodes. Remove all the leaves except 1 at the tip and plant leaving the leaf exposed. Roots will establish from the nodes that make contact with moist soil. Chance seedlings often sprout around mature plants but they are not likely to be true to type.                   NB: Be aware that commercial propagation of Camellias that are registered with Plant Breeders Rights is an infringement under the Plant Breeder's Rights Act 1994.