10/01/2013 - 10/31/2013
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Sasanqua Camellia, “Autumn Sun” Camellia
Attributes: Sasanqua or “Autumn Sun” Camellia is a densely branched evergreen shrub from 6’ to 10’, or less frequently a small tree from 12’ to 15’ from the Japanese archipelago, particularly the Ryukyu Islands. Depending on the cultivar, Sasanquas begin blooming in September and continue until hard frost. Blooms are generally delicately scented and borne in great abundance.
Growing Tips: Camellia sasanqua, being predominantly an understory or edge species, prefers moist, humus-rich acid soils and partial shade. Sasanquas are generally low maintenance shrubs, needing only an occasional cosmetic pruning. The deep green luster of the leaves may be maintained with a seasonal application of high quality compost or complete acidic fertilizer such as Espoma’s Holly-tone. Plants should be sited so that they are protected from strong winds. They are shallow rooted, so deep planting should be avoided. Few pest and disease problems occur if correct planting and cultivation practices are followed.
Landscape Uses: Sasanquas are exceptional dooryard specimens, providing an evergreen foil to fall colors and fragrant blooms at a time when little else is in flower. They may also be used as a blooming hedge, needing little pruning to maintain a desirable shape. A wide variety of cultivars exists, ranging from low, trailing varieties such as ‘Pink Showers,’ to upright columnar tree forms, such as ‘Taishuhai,’ allowing for great flexibility in the landscape. They grow well in large containers and raised beds, provided the cultivar matches the container size and watering is consistent.
Location in the Garden: Camellia sasanqua may be seen in bloom now in the Azalea trail at the Memphis Botanic Garden.
Text and Image by Chris Cosby, Greenhouse Mgr., Memphis Botanic Garden