Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Camellia’s are Blooming!

I decided to try my hand at growing camellias shortly after moving South Carolina. I’d heard in Master Gardener classes that the Sasanqua was easier to grow and was more tolerant of the sun. With very little shade in my new backyard I purchased a 1 gallon un-named plant for $6 at Lowes. To my surprise it grew and flowered the first year and even survived a mid-summer transplant to a shadier area 2 years later. I have 3 sasanqua camellias now and in the spring added 2 Camellia japonicas that should start to bloom about the time the 3 sasanqua have finished blooming.

Family: Theaceae (Tea Family)
Common name: Sasanqua camellias
Origin: China and Japan

Camellia sasanqua, like Magnolia, are synonymous with the south. They are frequently found in older neighborhood but seldom in newer one. What a shame and a mystery because they are a wonderful plant and deserve a place in every southern garden! Small plants are inexpensive and easy to find in nurseries. They can survive periods of neglect and have few pests. Best of all, the plants range in size from short to tall, and flowers come in colors from white to bright red.

Sasanquas are broad-leaved, evergreen shrubs with leathery, dark, green, shiny leaves. They are coveted for their flowers but have great foliage as well. They are stunning in a mixed boarder where they provide Fall and Winter color when little else is blooming in the garden. Where ever you place them, they are sure to be a hit. If you haven’t planted one in your garden you are missing out a great shrub! Don’t over look Camellia sasanqua. Plant one in November and it will be well rooted by the time Spring arrives.

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