Our Most Popular Varieties:
In Southern California, there are fine examples of Camellias at
Descanso Gardens- and Huntington Botanical
Gardens- the camellia is a fine landscape plant even when not in bloom.
The flowers, which range in color from white to pink and red, are from 3 to 5 inches in diameter. They are borne on different varieties from September until April. The flowers may be single, semi-double, or double.
One of the outstanding characteristics of the sasanqua camellia's is that it will tolerate more sun exposure than the spring flowering types of camellias. Plus, most varieties do not grow nearly as large as their spring cousins. Many of the varieties have rather bushy , low growing forms, while others tend to be rather upright. Sasanquas have smaller foliage and sometimes can be quite fragrant So before purchasing any variety be sure to check the growing habit so you know it will fit the desired planting location. These plants tend to be hardier than the Japonica varieties and will tolerate more sunlight. However, the ideal planting location is still shade to part sun and shade.
Like all camellias the sasanqua type need to be planted in a spot where there is good drainage.
Camellias are among the best shrubs for planting in partially shaded locations, especially under tall pines or woodland settings. Select a well-drained, sandy loam soil, with a slightly acid pH of 5.5 to
6.0. Understand, that Southern California soils are alkaline-pH 7.5 and above are common, therefore acid mixes are essential. Space plants at least 6 feet apart to allow the shrubs to develop their natural form. We suggest planting camellias with 2/3 Coarse Peat Moss and 1/3 Perlite, no soil. At the very least, plant with 1/2 Coarse Peat Moss/ perlite and good well-drained soil.
Soil moisture should be conserved by using a mulch of peat moss, or shredded bark or wood chips. Apply additional water during periods of dry weather to promote vigorous growth.
Light applications of a Dr. Earth Rhododendron/Azalea/ Camellia fertilizer may be used to maintain dark-green, attractive foliage and promote blossoming. Camellias grow very slowly. They require very little pruning except for the removal of damaged branches and long shoots that detract from the attractive form of the shrubs. The pruning should be done in early spring after the coldest winter weather is past and the blooming season is completed.
Companion plants~ Japanese Maples, Ferns, Azaleas, Pieris, Coral Bells, Acorus Grass, Viburnum, Choisya, Camellias, Campanula, Hydrangea.
Blue Hills Nursery has the following Camellia varieties in stock. Other varieties are available, please contact us with your inquiries.
Sasanqua type~ Blooming now. Apple Blossom, Kanjiro, Yuletide, Setsugekka and others.
Japonica type~ Kramer's Supreme, Jordan's Pride, Debutante, Eleanor McCown, Nuccio's Gem, Nuccio's Pearl, Magnoliaflora, Spring's Promise and others.
Landscape Use: specimen small tree, background accent, screen barriers. Many varieties available for the home and patio, containers; rock garden, companions with azaleas and Japanese maples and other part-shade lovers, high canopy tree plantings, etc.
Locating Camellias in your garden: Think sunlight first. Part shade best but some cultivars do quite well in almost full sun in Southern California, may need protection from western sun and drying winds. Generally prefer wide well-drained berms. Tolerant of sands to clays - generally prefers slightly acidic soils - performs best under a good mulch of peat moss.
Planting: At planting time prepare a large planting hole, about twice as large as the size of the root ball of the plant you are planting. We suggest planting camellias with 2/3 Coarse Peat Moss and 1/3 Perlite, no soil. At the very least plant 1/2 Coarse Peat Moss/ perlite and good well-drained soil. When placing the plant into the new planting hole be sure it is set so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface.
Care and Culture: Camellias are healthy plants with few problems when compared to cultivated crops such as tomatoes, apples, and peaches. However, several disease problems may occur on camellias. Root rot and dieback are the two more important diseases that can result in death to the plants. Flower blight is also a serious problem as it disfigures the bloom, but it does not cause death or decline of the plant. Flower blight is one of the greatest concerns for Southern California gardeners. See Notes on Flower Blight.
Camellia flower blight: This disease of camellia caused by the fungus Ciborinia camelliae occurs only on the flower and does not affect the rest of the plant in any way. Since camellias are enjoyed mainly for their flower, this can be a very devastating disease.
Flower blight is not usually a problem early in the season. It generally appears in late winter to early spring when the temperatures are on the rise. However, it may be seen earlier if conditions are proper for the fungus. Warm, humid weather following a cold spell will cause sporulation of the fungus and subsequent infection. This disease is characterized by brown spots on the petals. These usually enlarge until the entire blossom is blighted. Infected flower tissue feels "slimy" to the touch.
Infected flowers fall to the ground and the fungus produces hard, resting bodies called sclerotia. These sclerotia may remain under the bush or in the soil or debris for several years. Under proper weather conditions (temperatures from 45 - 70° F, wet) these sclerotia germinate and develop saucer-shaped mushrooms (apothecia) about 1/2 inch in diameter that release spores. These spores are carried by the wind and cause infection when they land on a flower.
Control measures involve the removal and destruction of all fallen blossoms. If all flowers could be picked up every year this would disrupt the life cycle of the fungus. However, this is only effective if you do not live close to other camellia growers as the fungal spores may easily blow from yard to yard. If flower blight has not been found in an area, it is important not to bring flowers or infected soil on plants into this area. Protective fungicidal spray have only provided limited protection. At this point, eradication is not truly possible although investigation of various control methods continues. Some fungicidal sprays, such as Bayleton, applied weekly will reduce disease incidence but not eliminate it.
The American Camellia Society