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Winter flowering Camellias bloom in Portland from late October into February. Flowers are sweetly scented, smaller than Japanese Camellias and hold up to winter rain better than Japanese Camellias. Colors range from white to red and every version of pink in between.
Proper air circulation both in the foliage and the root system is important when preventing disease. Heavy pruning can cause the plant to have unnaturally tight and dense branching, decreasing air circulation and creating more openings for disease. Planting Camellias in a spot where they are allowed to grow naturally is much more likely to produce a trouble-free and happy plant.
Sometimes, even though you’ve done everything right to prevent problems, they show up. See the sidebar for tips on caring for your camellias.
Photos courtesy of Monrovia and Peggy Acott.
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Genus: Camellia sasanqua
Common: Winter Camellia
Origin: Native to Japan & China
Characteristics: Winter flowering Camellias bloom in Portland from late October into February. Flowers are sweetly scented, smaller than Japanese Camellias and hold up to winter rain better than Japanese Camellias. Colors range from white to red and every version of pink in between.
Camellia sasanqua tends to grow smaller than C. japonica, mature at 6-10’. It generally has a more open refined quality with smaller evergreen leaves and pubescent stems.
Culture: Camellias thrive in acidic soils and appreciate improved soil drainage, so amending soil with compost for acid-loving plants is important when planting. Morning sun or dappled shade is ideal for Camellias. It allows for the plant to receive enough sun to produce flowers and protects leaves from being burned by hot afternoon sun. Use fertilizer specified for Camellias, Azaleas or Rhododendrons, as they are all acid-loving plants that can become chlorotic (turn yellow & look sick) without proper nutrients.
Diseases: Camellias are prone to a number of pests and diseases, but in Portland, sucking insects like scale and mealy bug can become problematic, and are often followed by sooty mildew, a black dusty-looking substance which can only be present when sucking insects are also around. A broad range of treatment options is available at both of our retail locations.