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Yuletide Camellia

As beautiful as sugar maple foliage is in the fall, camellia blooms are unrivaled in their fall and winter beauty. As the rest of the garden is waning, camellia sasanquas provide a fresh infusion of color, delicate form, and subtle scent.

"About a hundred years ago the Camellia was one of the most popular of flowering shrubs, grown for the most part in greenhouses. Then, as decades passed, this popularity waned as that of Rhododendrons increased, until only a few named varieties were listed compared to to many dozens in the 1850s. Outside they were only grown in a few great gardens in the south and west," note the authors of Modern Shrubs.

Now, they are poular again "partly because gardeners have begun to realise that the Camellia is a far hardier plant than most people imagined."

Popular Cultivars

Sasanquas (Camellia sasanqua). Sometimes known simply as sasanquas, these nearly care-free small flowering shrubs bloom from fall into the winter.

Introduced in the 1930s, these plants are a blooming marvel uniquely suited to the climates of the Deep South. Most sasanqua flowers range just two to five inches across in shades of white and shades, but what they lack in size they make up in volume, covering the bushes with blooms that seem endless.

Sasanqua bushes are frequently used as hedges because their small glossy leaves take readily to pruning, which is best done toward the end of their blooming or right after blooming when they go dormant.  Annual pruning produces a sharp formal effect while pruning every two years produces a more casual look.

Yuletide Camellia (Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide') An exceptional winter plant, this evergreen boasts single, brilliant, fiery red blooms centered with bright yellow stamens standing out in high contrast against dark green glossy foliage. Late season. Prefers neutral to acidic well drained soils. Sun or shade. Slow growth 8 to 10 feet tall 3 to 4 feet wide. Zone 7-10.

Shi Shi Gashira (Camellia sasanqua ‘Shi Shi Gashira’) Originating in Japan in 1894, this plant grows to three feet tall, has deep pink flowers, and a very long blooming period.

The plant is suitable for container growing and does well in partial shade or full sun..  As the bloom ends, the petals shatter, producing a bright pink ribbon on the ground, a mirror image of the blooms on the plant, and a splendid moment of temporary beauty.

Camellia sasanqua
An evergreen with more than 300 cultivars all with fragrant flowers and glossy green leaves. Flower form and colour, as well as plant habitat, are variable, depending on the cultivar.

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