Saturday, November 3, 2012
Posted By: in Shrubs
camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua or Christmas or Yuletide Camellia is a species of evergreen shrubs from the coastal forests of southern Japan and many other Asian islands as far south as Okinawa. The Japanese use the leaves of sasanqua to make tea, and the seeds are pressed into tea seed oil for use as a lubricant and in cooking and cosmetics.

It was first brought to the west in 1869 by Dutch traders who imported a few specimens into Europe. It subsequently made its way to Australia and the United States where it is now prized as a specimen evergreen shrub.

Sasanquas are the most robust and versatile of the camellia species and can be used as shrubs, as topiary or even espaliers. Tall varieties are often used as focal points in the garden or someplace where they can be enjoyed in the winter.

Sasanquas generally have smaller flowers than their cousins Camellia japonica, but do tend to grow faster.

In the garden, Camellia sasanqua is used for its handsome broadleaf, leathery evergreen foliage and fragrant flowers produced in fall through winter depending on the variety.

While the original plant features fragrant single white flowers, todays breeding programs have expanded the selection to include many colours including white, pink, and red as well as single, semi-double and double flowers.

Some of our favourite varieties for 2012 include:
Jean May Camellia

Jean May Camellia

Camellia sasanqua 'Jean May'
Fun and friendly evergreen shrub with profuse shell pink double blooms in late fall and winter. Deeper shades of pink appear towards the center. Perfect compliment to the glossy dark green foliage. Plant in full sun or part shade in moist, but well drained acidic soil. Benefits from a sheltered or woodland location. Grows 8-10ft in height and 5-6ft across.
Kumasaka Camellia

Kumasaka Camellia

Camellia sasanqua 'Kumasaka'
This camellia is an old favourite for north american gardens. Beautiful dark glossy green evergreen foliage is accented by spectacular double blooms of bright rose pink. An excellent accent for the shade or part shade or as a focal point in an asian or zen garden. Blooms late in the season, winter through early spring. Grows 6-8ft tall with a similar width. Hardiness zones 7-10.
Bob Hope Camellia

Bob Hope Camellia

Camellia sasanqua 'Bob Hope' This densely branched broadleaf evergreen shrub provides a massive display of large brilliant deep red semi-double flowers from fall through winter. Golden yellow stamens offer additional interest. Grows 8-10ft tall and 4-6ft wide.
white Doves Camellia

White Doves Camellia

Camellia sasanqua 'White Doves'
Camellia sasanqua 'Mine-No-Yuki'
This Sasanqua camellia delivers sparkling white, semi-double blooms with glossy, dark green evergreen foliage. It's a shorter plant, growing only 4-5ft tall with a slightly wider width. Excellent in smaller gardens. Can also be used as a colourful, informal hedge, espallier or a groundcover. White Dove flowers can also be used in flower arrangements. Blooms fall through winter. Hardy in zones 7-10.
Apple Blossom Camellia

Apple Blossom Camellia

Camellia sasanqua 'Apple Blossom'
This versatile camellia displays profuse white blooms edges with pink and accented by golden yellow stamens in the center. Its dense growth habit makes it ideal for a colourful hedge, screen or even as an espallier. Glossy dark green, evergreen foliage adds additional interest. Blooms from early fall through winter. Grows 8-10ft in height and just as wide. Hardy in zones 7-10.
Marge Miller Weeping Camellia

Marge Miller Camellia

Camellia sasanqua 'Marge Miller'
Marge Miller Camellia is grown for its full, soft pink flowers that appear in fall through winter. Deep green, glossy evergreen foliage is an excellent contrast. Originally from Australia, this is the first prostrate Camellia in the world. Makes a superb groundcover, spilling over walls, or even a hanging basket. Creates a lovely weeping shape. Grows to 1ft wide and 4ft tall, taller when staked or trained. Hardy in zones 7-10
Yuletide Camellia

Yuletide Camellia

Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'
Yuletide is classic sasanqua Camellia grown for its single, brilliant, fiery red blooms accented with bright yellow stamens. Blooms stand out against the glossy, dark green evergreen foliage. An excellent choice for the winter garden, a colourful hedge, an espalier or as a specimen shrub. Blooms from fall through winter. Grows 8-10ft tall and wide. Hardy in zones 7-10.

How to Grow Camellia Sasanqua

Like all Camellias, and similar to Rhododendrons, sasanquas must have moist, but well drained acidic soil. Enhancing the soil with peat moss or manure is also beneficial. They are shallow rooted so avoid too much disturbance in the immediate area. While most camellias are generally at home in part shade, sasanquas will also tolerate more sun.

As they flower in the winter, a sheltered location away from rain storms, snow and ice will allow you to better enjoy the flowers. Under the eaves of a house or near a front door is ideal. Once Camellias do get established they tend to fire out long straggly shoots. Prune these back after flowering, but before mid-summer to ensure adequate blooms for next year.

If leaves start to turn yellow, apply a Rhododendron type fertilizer like Arts Garden Pro Rhodo and Azalea Food. This product is specially formulated for plants that prefer acidic soils. Fertilizer is best applied early in the year before new growth begins or after flowering has finished. Most sasanqua camellias are hardy in USDA zones 7-9. For us in the Pacific Northwest, this translates into 'should be hardy' in an average winter, but provide protection if exceptional cold or winter conditions are expected.

Camellias are excellent companions for rhododendrons, azaleas, pieris, skimmia, hellebores and early blooming bulbs like snowdrops and aconites.

Arts Nursery carries a large and diverse selection of Camellia sasanqua and other species. Best selection is available in late fall and early spring. If you have any questions about this plant or anything else, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 604.882.1201

Rebecca van der Zalm

Rebecca van der Zalm

Rebecca is an owner and the ‘Plant Boss’ of Art’s Nursery Garden & Home, a large family owned garden centre in Surrey. Fueled by her passion for plants and the occasional grande vanilla latte, Rebecca strives to share her love of gardening at every opportunity. The goal: to offer more service, more selection and more fun.
Tel:604.882.1201
Email:rmrazek@artsnursery.com
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