Camellias, although not native to the Northwest, have a place in our gardens. The most popular varieties are camellia japonica and camellia sasanqua. They like our climate and are easy care as long as they are well placed. aThey do thrive with some water in the summer.
Several of the fall and winter flowering camellia sasanquas are good for our gardens. If you see a rounded shrub with evergreen leaves and red flowers with a yellow center, no doubt it is sasanqua “Yuletide.” It is appropriately named because of its color and time for blooming.
This year, with our mild winter, many sasanquas that normally stop blooming in the fall are blooming now. “Apple Blossom” is one example. It is slow growing but does well in the Northwest. It likes to be against a wall or a rockery where it does not get buffeted by the wind. White flowering “Setsugekka” is another. It has been blooming for months alongside the path at the south side of the Edmonds Center for the Arts’ main building.
If you are growing sasanquas and see few blooms, it helps to apply an acid fertilizer in March, May and July. Be sure to water after fertilizing.
“Donation” is a floriferous pink hybrid that has a long blooming season starting in February. It will grow over 15 feet and is more tree-like in form. Most gardeners are more familiar with the camellia japonica, which has a long blooming season in late winter and through the spring. White “Alba Plena,” pink “Debutante” and red “Mrs. Charles Cobb” are three of the many camellia japonicas.
Camellias add much beauty to our Northwest gardens,
— By Barbara Chase
Barbara Chase is a Master Gardener who serves on the City of Edmonds Citizens Tree Board.