Success with Camellias

Success With Camellias By Howard Drury

 

Camellia in Morab Gardens Penzance in early January

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Introduction

 

The Camellia was named by the great botanist Linneaus in honour of a Jesuit priest, George Joseph Kamel who lived and worked in the Philippines for many years during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. It was not until years after the death of this priest that Linneaus used the Latinized form of the name, Camellus, to honour him as a contributor to the natural history of the Far East and not as the discoverer of the Camellia. Hence the two pronunciations "camellia" and "cameelia". Camellias are one of the finest evergreen shrubs. Their beauty of form and foliage, long life, versatility and ease of culture put them into a class of their own. They are particularly welcome during the long dark winter months when most other plants are dormant but Camellias are covered with blooms for many weeks. The initial cost of the plant may be high compared with a rose bush, but providing certain conditions are observed they will grow and bloom freely at a time when few other flowers are available.

 

History and origins

 

Camellias are native of south‑east Asia and for over 4000 years the Chinese have used the leaves of Camellia sinensis to make tea. They also developed the ornamental Camellia and these plants were traded extensively between China and Japan as early as the seventh century AD. As tea became more popular as a drink in Europe efforts were made to obtain specimens of the tea plant, but the Chinese deliberately substituted ordinary Camellia varieties for the precious tea plants. In this way many ornamental Camellias found their way into the West. The first on record in Europe were the plants for the single red C. japonica which were grown in the glasshouses of Lord Petre in England in 1739. It was first considered that as Camellias came from the Orient they would need to be grown in hot 'stove' houses ‑ as a result they died. Gradually, by trial and error gardeners realised that Camellias would thrive in cool greenhouses or an orangery and by 1831 English enthusiasts were growing twenty six Chinese varieties and fourteen new seedlings. Camellias reached the height of their popularity during the mid‑nineteenth century, particularly in France, with nurserymen in Italy, Belgium and France producing thousands of new Camellias. However, as the once rare and costly bloom became commonplace so the fashion for Camellias waned and interest in the plant dwindled away. During this century the Camellia has shed its reputation as a tender species and new hybrids suitable for growing out of doors were developed leading to a revival in their popularity.

 

Site considerations

 

In their native habitat Camellias are a common forest plant growing on moist hillsides and valleys in a well drained soil. As an under-shrub, shaded by forest trees, Camellias receive a continuous mulch of falling leaves and twigs. In ideal conditions they will survive for a century or more and reach a height of 30 feet. Camellias will grow and flower outdoors in the British Isles from the south coast up as far a central Scotland. Providing the soil is acid, the limiting factor is the adequate ripening of the year's growth and flower buds to withstand the winter frosts. Ripening is usually controlled by a combination of temperature and humidity, providing that the plants are correctly fed. Generalising, it can be said that cultivation is most difficult in areas of low rainfall, moderate summer temperatures and cold winters. Cornwall comes nearest to ideal growing conditions in the British Isles with damp sea breezes and sufficient sunshine to assist the flower buds through the winter, but even in the south west, there are often frost pockets where the flowers are easily ruined. Shade is the best substitute for humidity ‑ tall Scots pines will provide shelter and suitable humus. However, Camellias are not shade plants alone, and to thrive they need exposure to the late morning sun and afternoon shade, or the dappled light beneath high branching trees. Flower buds will be damaged if the temperature falls below 12F (‑11C) for a few days and a more severe frost than this may kill young plants and cut established ones to the ground. The roots are easily killed by much lighter frosts and for this reason it is essential to protect any containers above ground from frost. Do not be put off by the above suggestions. Camellias are well suited to small and large gardens alike, and providing soil conditions are reasonably catered for and suitable varieties chosen, then no garden need be without this important group of spring flowering shrubs. Avoid east facing walls and gardens as the early morning sun will rapidly thaw the flower buds causing them to abort. Planting in full sunlight often results in yellow, scorched foliage and poor growth and in heavy shade Camellias may not produce any flower buds. These guidelines can be applied to any sized garden and where necessary Camellias can be grown in pots and cold conservatories, even those which face north.

 

Soil conditions

 

In the wild Camellias grow mainly on wooded slopes where drainage is good and the shallow layer of soil is acid. Ample humus is provided by the annual leaf‑fall of the forest trees. When growing Camellias in the garden, the pH of the soil should be in the range of 5.5 to 6.5 (See Fact Sheet 20). If the pH level is below 5.5. Magnesium limestone can be added as this will raise the acidity without too much calcium. A pH level above 6.5 can be reduced if the alkalinity is due to previously added lime and is not due to the fact that the underlying basic rock is chalk, limestone or calcareous clay. Spreading fine sulphur at the rate of 2½lbs per 100 sq. feet (4oz. per sq yard) per point of pH and raking in well ahead of planting, should produce a suitable growing medium. Humus is provided by digging in coarse moss peat before planting and mulching annually with leaves, pine needles or ground forest‑bark. If the natural soil conditions are too alkaline for growing Camellias, then construction of a raised bed may be the answer. The bed should be filled with an acid compost, or coarse peat and sand and sealed off from the surrounding soil with a polythene membrane. Adequate drainage is essential and should be provided by making holes in the bottom of the membrane and covering with 3ins of gravel or stones (not alkaline material). If it is not possible to improve or adapt the soil sufficiently, then a Camellia can always be grown in a tub or pot.

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Planting

 

Camellias can be planted at any time from November to April, but in colder areas planting is often delayed until the spring. In milder regions, the shrubs are usually planted in autumn so that they can become well established during the winter. For autumn planting it is an advantage to prepare the ground during the summer by incorporating coarse peat or garden compost into the soil. A layer of peat or compost 3 inches deep should be spread over a square yard of the site and the top spit dug out. Mix this with the peat in a heap alongside and break up the subsoil with the fork. Replace the top spit, level and tread firm. At planting time, sprinkle 4 ozs (100grms) of John Innes Base fertilizer over the prepared area and fork in, then take out the planting hole. (Remember if John Innes Base fertilizer is used when planting the shrub, no feeding will be necessary during the first year of growth). Deep planting is fatal to Camellias, the roots should only be covered by a mulch and not soil. Plant so that the finished soil level is at the same level as it was in the container. If all the roots are fibrous when the plant is removed from its pot, simply plant in a hole to fit so that the surface of the pot soil is level with the firmed soil after treading in lightly.

If the Camellia is pot-bound and has a thick dominant root, the planting hole should be enlarged so that the large root can be disentangled and spread out. The soil should then be filled in around the roots. If this is not done, root strangulation will occur. This may not show until the shrub is 6 feet (or more) high when the leaves will turn yellow, drop and the whole plant will lean over. If the Camellia is a grafted plant (the union shows as a slight swelling just above ground level) the shrub can be left for a season tilting over, to encourage it to root from the scion or top growth by passing the strangulation and graft.

It is possible to move an established Camellia. In the autumn make an almost vertical cut with a spade all around just under the outer leaves. The plant can then be lifted at any time before April. A plant with only one or two thick roots and no cohesive root ball is more difficult to move. In this instance, cut round the shrub in spring to encourage fibrous roots to develop ready for lifting in the autumn. When transplanting, dig out a working trench outside the line of the cut to the depth of the spade. This will enable the rootball to be isolated and undercut all round. Tilt the rootball to one side and slip a sheet of thick polythene underneath. Manoeuvre the rootball onto the sheeting and drag across to the new site. Ensure that the planting depth is the same, slide the plant into the new hole and pack around with moist peat.

 

Mulching

 

Mulching is carried out to simulate the natural loss of leaves from deciduous trees each autumn. Leaves also fall from coniferous trees, especially during May, and the gradual breakdown of this acidic material is thought to be beneficial to Camellias. In the garden, young plants can be protected with a layer of mulch which should be free draining during winter to prevent physical damage to the main stem. The mulch may be home made garden compost, well rotted leaves, or forest bark. Additional nitrogen may be necessary if forest bark is used, as during the breakdown of this material nitrogen from the soil is used. A 2 inch layer of mulching material should ideally be applied in the autumn whilst the soil is still warm. Alternatively proprietor products such as Carr’s Organic Soil Conditioner may be used but always check the product is suitable to use acid loving plants.

 

Watering and feeding

 

During the first year or two after planting the roots develop very slowly and in dry weather cannot gather enough moisture to maintain the growing head. It is therefore vital to water regularly in dry spells. The layer of mulch will only slow down the rate of drying out and care should be taken to ensure that the soil beneath the mulch remains damp. Camellias planted against walls will dry out more readily than those planted elsewhere in the garden. Lack of water causes failure of flower bud formation in mature plants and also will cause winter bud drop. Rainwater is best for watering, but if sulphate of ammonia is used as a fertilizer, acid soils will tolerate the use of hard tap water for several years. Camellias will give a generous return for annual feeding, but do not feed after the end of June as this will hinder the ripening of the wood. Peat does not supply fertilizer it prepares the roots to receive it. The sap of Camellias is acid and consequently they require acid soils and a fertilizer which will have an acid reaction in the soil and sap. Acidic fertilizers contain ammonium nitrogen, ammonium nitrate and ammonium phosphate. Phosphorus is contained in superphosphate and ammonium phosphate, potassium in sulphate of potash and magnesium in the sulphate and oxide forms. Most fertilizers do not contain sufficient nitrogen for the Camellia and after applying a compound fertilizer such as Growmore, in March, an additional dressing of sulphate of ammonia at 1 oz. per sq.yd. should be applied in April. If, by mid June there are no signs of developing flower buds, an application of 1oz. of single superphosphate and 1oz. of Epsom salts per sq. yard should assist. All fertilizers should be applied when the soil is wet and if applied during a dry spell, remember to keep the plant well watered afterwards. Failure to do so may result in the death of the plant. The fertilizer should be sprinkled evenly over the root area, which usually extends from 6‑12 inches from the main stem to 6‑9 inches beyond the leaf spread. Do not allow fertilizer to fall onto the leaves, and if it does occur wash off immediately. The late Arthur Billitt always advocated the use of sulphate of potash at the rate of 1oz per sq yard (30 grams per metre) applied immediately after flowering to encourage the formation of the following season's flower buds. Fertilizers to be avoided are Nitrochalk and other nitrogen fertilizers, potash nitrate, nitrate of soda, wood ashes, bone meal all of which also promote alkalinity.

 

Weeding and weedkillers

 

If Camellias are mulched regularly weeds should not become a great problem, and it should be possible to control them by use of the hoe and hand weeding. Care must be taken when using the hoe not to damage the shallow roots of the shrub. Chemical weed control is risky because of the surface root system and should only be used carefully in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

PRUNING

Pruning of Camellias is not essential. Irregular long shoots should be cut back during mild spells in winter to encourage the formation of a balanced bush. Healthy, well grown plants generally require little or no pruning. Unfortunately some cultivars are of a lax, weeping habit and cascade onto surrounding plants and the ground. Many gardeners attempt to prune these to encourage upright growths, and this is a practice to be avoided.

However, where necessary some pruning may be carried out in spring, immediately after flowering being the latest time for this operation. Avoid periods of inclement weather which could lead to frost damage on the wounds. Cutting back into old wood prior to flowering will delay any remaining blooms by some 3‑5 weeks. The cut surfaces should be treated with a fungicidal sealant. The only other pruning necessary is to remove misplaced, crossing or rubbing branches. Dead, diseased or damaged wood must be cut away and any branches which are not characteristic of that particular cultivar, such as strong, upright growths on a naturally pendulous variety should also be removed. Camellias trained against walls will require the removal of outward growing shoots and tying in of suitably placed branches.

 

Growing in containers

 

Despite being a naturally shallow rooting plant, Camellias will grow quite happily for many years in containers. This makes them very suitable for use in smaller, town gardens. However, if are grown in containers, their roots must NEVER be allowed to freeze. If the soil in the container freezes solid, the plant will die. It must be a routine and never forgotten task every autumn to insulate the pots with straw, bracken etc. Horticultural fleece can also be used, supported by canes, to protect flower buds from heavy frosts. Camellias are sold growing in a loam-based compost or in a peat‑sand mixture. Ericaceous composts are now available and are suitable for growing Camellias in containers. These will contain enough nutrients for the plant for around 6 weeks, after which time growing plants will need feeding. Alternatively, John Innes "A" compost can sometimes be obtained, an old lime-free formula. Derek Cox originally of Goscote Nurseries near Leicester grows camellias very successfully using 50/50 John Innes no1/Cambark fine bark as he feels that some peat based ericaceous composts do not have good structure and nutrient levels.

As with any plant grown in a pot or tub, great care must be taken to ensure that it does not dry out although overwatering must be avoided at all costs. Rainwater is preferable, because tap water is deliberately hardened. If very hard water has to be used, the resultant rise in the pH level can be modified by the use of aluminium sulphate as for turning hydrangeas blue.

Feeding should be carried out from April to July the simplest method being to mix the fertilizer with the water. During April, May and June a high nitrogen fertilizer should be used, but in July use a feed, which is high in potash and phosphates but low in nitrogen. (This information is printed on the label of the proprietary fertilizer). Do not feed after July when the plant is beginning to become inactive, since excess salt concentrations will build up in the soil. This results in a white or brown powdery edging to the leaves of the plant. It may be possible to soak to salts from the compost and re‑pot very quickly, keeping the roots on the dry side and damping over the leaves. Once the leaves have turned yellow or brown, they will drop off, the roots will rot and the plant dies.

Camellias do not need regular repotting. They will continue to grow and bloom in the same container for many years, providing feeding and conditions are correct. When the plant is almost root-bound, it can be re-potted into the next size pot or container. The ideal time for this to be carried out is during the flowering (dormant) period.

 

Growing in unheated greenhouses

 

Although many varieties will thrive out of doors, certain Camellias must be grown under glass. The protection from wind and rain afforded by the greenhouse, results in finer blooms on most japonica camellias. They are "cool" greenhouse plants, requiring the minimum housing and heating. Growing requirements are the same as for outdoor varieties, partial shade, good drainage, high humidity and even temperatures. In large greenhouses Camellias can be planted in the ground where they will develop into small trees. From November throughout the flowering season, a daytime temperature of 45‑50F (7‑10C) is required dropping to 35‑40F (2‑5C) at night. Increasing the temperatures will not induce larger or earlier flowers and if the daytime temperature does rise above 50F this may result in the loss of buds and blooms. After flowering, the temperature may be increased to 65‑75F (18‑24C) and 55‑65F (13‑18C) at night to simulate new growth. This is also the time to prune back to side shoots to keep the plants within bounds. At this time Camellias will require adequate watering, shading and a relative humidity of 50% When all danger of frost is past, plants in containers should be placed outside in partial shade and left to ripen until ready to be brought back into the greenhouse in late autumn or before the first frosts. However if the Camellia cannot be placed outside for the summer months, care must be taken to ensure that the greenhouse is well ventilated and the shrub partially shaded from bright sunlight.

 

Propagation

 

Most Camellia cuttings will root easily, although there are certain varieties that require to be grafted. The best time to take semi-ripe cuttings is in late July or early August; cuttings taken between October and February will take far longer to root. Any shoot of the current year's growth with four or more leaves will be suitable. Remove the bottom leaf (or two leaves) and shave off an inch sliver opposite the basal bud. The cuttings can then be dipped in a hardwood rooting compound and inserted into a mixture of 75% peat/25% lime free grit or equal parts by volume of peat and Perlite or Vermiculite. To be certain of success it is necessary to have some sort of heat beneath the rooting medium and there are many types of suitable propagators available to the amateur. Rooting should take place within 6‑12 week

 

Pests

 

Aphids ‑ Outdoor specimens - brown aphids will often appear on young leaves. These can be controlled should be treated with any insecticide permitted for use on ornamentals that list aphids under pests controlled. When grown under glass, the young shoots will attract green and brown aphids. Control by spraying with insecticide or use of "yellow cards" to attract aphids if grown under glass.

 

Birds ‑ Small birds will sometimes tear and disfigure the blooms of the early flowering varieties in their efforts to reach the nectar at the base of the stamens. A bird‑repellent can be sprayed over the bush, but this will necessarily damage some open flowers leaving a deposit on the leaves. However, the resultant bitter taste will reduce bird damage for some weeks. Bee‑candy on the bird table may distract attention from the blooms. Birds do not remove the flower buds; the grey squirrel is usually to blame.

 

Scale insects ‑ the soft scale and cushion scale insects, (both found on the underside of the leaves & stems) can be controlled by spraying with an insecticide recommended for controlling scale on ornamentals during May, June and September. At these times, the younger and more susceptible insects are present.

 

Sooty Leaves ‑ A sooty deposit on the upper surface of the leaves is a sign of aphids or scale insects. The deposit is a harmless mould, which can be wiped off, as it grows on the honeydew secreted by the aphids or scale insects. Obviously the cause of the sooty mould must be treated which often involves spraying upwards to control the pests on undersides of the foliage.

 

Vine Weevils ‑ Irregular shaped notches in the leaves particularly at the lower levels is an indication that vine weevils are present. Control is difficult, but the use of insecticides recommended for vine weevil control will if applied correctly control/prevent insect and weevil attack for at least six months.

 

Diseases

 

Armillaria (Honey fungus) ‑ unfortunately there is no complete control for this disease. Yellowing leaves with pale green leaves hanging limply on the shrub is often an indication that the fungus is present particularly if the plant is not firmly rooted in the ground. Armillatox has been found effective in some cases, but the usual remedy is to dig out and burn the infected plant and root system.

Leaf gall ‑ this white jelly‑like enlargement of leaf or flower can be controlled by removal of the infected part. If it persists, treatment with zineb, mancozeb or a copper fungicide should remove the problem.

Leaf spot ‑ this occurs in very humid, airless conditions showing as grey or brown spots on the leaves. Obviously this only appears on Camellias grown in greenhouses and excess humidity should be controlled.

 

Disorders

 

Algae ‑ Camellias grown under trees, especially pines, may become encrusted with a fine grey‑green deposit. This is quite harmless, and although difficult to remove, a well-fed plant in the open will outgrow it.

 

Balling ‑ not a very common occurrence in Great Britain as it is the result of a dry spring. The outer petals are damaged and so prevent the inner petals form spreading and opening. The bud swells and the unopened peals split from the stem at the base. Remove damaged buds to prevent any rot, which may have set in from spreading.

 

Bud Drop ‑ Small immature buds may naturally be shed during winter. The loss of plump, seemingly normal buds is usually due to excessive feeding, feeding with nitrogen too late in the season or a period of one or two days drought during the previous summer. The more elaborate blooms are more likely to be affected by this disorder.

 

Yellowing of the Leaves ‑ One of the most common problems with camellias and with a variety of causes. Yellowing of the older leaves, with the veins remaining green, is often due to lack or water and fertilizer.

 

Brown and yellow patches between the veins are a sign that soil conditions are too alkaline. This is often a symptom of specimens grown in containers where the wrong compost has been used.

 

Yellow and brown leaves with leaf fall and loss of anchorage are symptoms of root strangulation.

 

Brown shading on the leaf surface indicates leaf scorch caused by lack of water and humus when in too hot a position.

 

Brown blistering of the leaves can be caused by sun scorch or lack of ventilation, humidity and shading when grown under glass. Do not confuse with leaf spot, which is caused by excess humidity.

 

Brown edges with pale, yellowing leaves is usually caused by a chemical imbalance. Lime in the soil, animal manures, over feeding can all produce these symptoms. If accompanied by leaf fall on varieties grown in greenhouses, this is indicative of feeding too late in the season and overwatering.

 

Brownish purple patches on the leaves are caused by frost damage.

 

A brief selection of Camellias

 

- Abbreviations at the end of each description denote Early (E) Mid (M) or Late (L) flowering seasons.

 

Williamsii cultivars and related hybrids

 

- Hardy, free flowering Camellias, mainly with smaller leaves than the japonicas

 

White - Yellow

 

Cornish Snow - small white flowers, very early, weathering better than others. Wide bush with coppery leaves. (E-L)

Jury's Yellow - upright habit with medium anemone flowers. Cream outer petals, yellow petaloids. Hardy. (M)

 

Pink - Crimson

 

Anticipation - crimson rose peony type flowers, upright habit. Large and prolific. (M-L)

Ballet Queen - salmon pink anemone flowers, upright and prolific. (M-L)

Bow Bells - compact bell-shaped single flowers. Very early to late.

Cornish Spring - small dusky pink trumpets, compact habit. Matt green leaves. (M-L)

Dainty Dale - orchid pink peony flowers. Upright and bushy, good in the midlands. (M-L)

Debbie - blue-pink peony blooms which drop whole when over. (E-L)

Donation - compact bush up to about 8ft wide and 15ft high. Masses of light pink semi-double flowers. (M-L)

Dream Boat - clear pink large double flowers which shatter when over. (M-L)

Dream Girl - with 'Flower Girl' and 'Show Girl' hardy pinks with large semi-double flowers. Strongly scented under glass. December to March.

Elegant Beauty - large deep rose anemone flowers. (M-L)

Elsie Jury - large orchid pink, anemone flowers. (M-L)

Francis I - large deep rose semi-double flowers. Long dark leaves, best for training on walls.

Innovation - wine red peony blooms. Very hardy, makes a wide bush. (E-L)

Inspiration - brighter than 'Donation', better spaced flowers. Semi-double. (E-L)

J C Williams - dog-rose pink single blooms. Long arching growth, good for north walls. (E-L)

Jean Trehane - large rose pink double flowers. Upright habit. (L)

Julia Hamiter - flesh pink on white flowers; a seedling of 'Donation'. Forms a spreading bush, requires sun. (M-L)

Leonard Messel - loose peony apricot toned pink blooms. Very hardy. (M-L)

Mary Larcom - larger, later, firmer flowers. Single. (M-L)

Mildred Veitch - charming neat pink anemone flowers. Does not shed dead flowers. (M)

November Pink - thin arching branches loaded with single pink flowers. November to May.

Rose Parade - dark crimson peony form blooms. Very hardy open bush. (M)

Spring Festival - closely erect, small double pink flowers. Coppery foliage. (L)

St. Ewe - early large dark pink funnels. Glossy leaves. (E-M)

Water Lily - sister seedling to 'Dream Boat'. Slender upright habit. Formal double blooms of lavender tinted pink. (M-L)

 

Bicolour

 

Freedom Bell - medium semi-double. Bright orange/red and red. Prolific, dense williamsii bush (E-M)

 

Japonica cultivars and related hybrids

 

- broad leaved traditional Camellias. Hardy by flowers decrease in size from midlands northwards and of little value in Scotland.

 

White

 

Alba Simplex - large flat single flowers. (M-L)

Commander Mulroy - very bushy shrub. Formal double blooms which shatter when over. (M)

Lovelight - bold heavy trumpets. Semi-double. (M)

Mme Victor de Bisschop - upright, few stamens. Semi-double. (E)

Nobilissima - often out before Christmas. Peony type flowers. (E-M)

White Nun - spreading bush with very large semi-double flowers. (M)

 

Pink to Crimson

 

Berenice Boddy - slender grower, medium sized. Semi-double in two shades of pink. (E-L)

Cheryl Lynn - sugar pink formal double blooms which shatter when over. Spreading habit. (M)

Debutante - creamy pink peony blooms. Parent of 'Debbie'. (M)

Edith Linton - silvery pink rose form blooms. (M-L)

Gloire de Nantes - rose red semi-double flowers, often produced in November (E-L)

Guilio Nuccio - bold salmon red semi-double flowers. (M)

Jingle Bells - miniature crimson anemone flowers. It has a pink sport 'Tinker Bell'. (E)

Jupiter - reliable carmine red single. (M)

Lady Clare - semi-double salmon pink flowers. Large leaves, spreading habit. (M)

Laurie Bray - soft pink peony flowers. Prolific and bushy habit. (M)

Magnoliaeflora - blush pink semi-double flowers. Graceful habit. (M)

Pink Perfection - formal double medium pale pink flowers. (E-L)

Tiffany - peony shaped flowers of shaded pink. Spreading habit. (M-L)

 

Red

 

Adolphe Audusson - bold red semi-double flowers. Uneven grower, producing many fruits but no seeds. (M)

Alexander Hunter - upright, fine stamens. Single blooms. (M)

Alice Wood - large dusky dark red double blooms. When established, prolific in flower. (L)

Apollo - robust, prolific semi-double flowers. Robust and reliable. (M)

Bob's Tinsie - miniature anemone blooms with boss of fine petaloids. (M)

Cardinal's Cap - close grower, bright red anemone flowers. (M)

Dr. Burnside - close growing dark peony flowers. (M)

Grand Prix - classic beauty, big flat clear red semi-doubles. (M-L)

Grand Slam - large variable blooms. Bold foliage. (M)

Warrior - dusky red flat peony bloom. (M)

 

Bicolour

 

Lady Loch - dark pink edged white loose peony blooms. (M-L)

Tricolour - bushy holly like leaves. Flowers with variable red and white stripes. Singles. (M)

William Bartlett - compact,white powdered and lightly striped crimson. Formal double (M)

 

Reticulata cultivars and related hybrids

 

- there are now many of these Camellias among which are the largest flowers in the genus up to 7 ins. in diameter. They generally require greenhouse space, but can be grown successfully in London and are magnificent in Cornwall. The list below is a based selection based on cultivation in Cornwall and under glass.

Arch of Triumph - large peony with bright orange sheen attracting attention to its crimson-rose flowers. (E)

Dr. Clifford Parks - hybrid with japonica, dark orange red peony/anemone flowers. (M)

Dream Castle - enormous pale pink peony flowers. Large leaves, spreading branches. (M)

Royalty - finest semi-double red hybrid. (M-L)

Valentine Day - formal double salmon pink with sparse foliage. (M-L)

William Hertrich - prolific cherry-red, loose peony blooms outdoors, semi-double under glass. (M)

 

Camellias for special purposes - training against walls

 

Facing south (partially shaded), west and east - Francis I, Dream Girl, Flower Girl, Show Girl, Daintiness, November Pink.

Facing north - Elegant Beauty, J.C.Williams, Daintiness, November Pink, and as free standing bushes - Bow Bells, Donation, Inspiration, St. Ewe, Debbie.

 

For tubs - Australis, Bob's Tinsie, Cardinal's Cap, Cecile Brunazzi, Commander Mulroy, Debutante, Janet Waterhouse.

Hybrids - Anticipation, Cornish Spring.

 

For Hardiness - as far north as Perth - Anticipation, Bowen Bryant, Brigadoon, Cornish Snow, Donation, Inspiration, J C Williams, Leonard Messel, St Ewe and possibly Dr Louis Pollizzi and Spring Festival.

 

Camellia japonica cultivars and hybrids in greenhouses

 

- many of the japonica and hybrid Camellias can be grown successfully in cold or temperate structures with glazing or polythene cladding.

Elegans Champagne - white with a honey centre. Small and easily damaged outdoors.

Kramers's Supreme - a rich reddish pink with a carnation scent.

Shiro Chan - a perfect white anemone, sometimes a little pink under glass.

Souvenir de Bahuaud Litou - a flesh pink sport of 'Mathotiana Alba' which weathers badly and needs to be protected under glass.

 

Sasanquia cultivars

 

- autumn flowering, mostly scented. They prefer more sun than japonicas, tolerant of less acid soils. Require warm positions sheltered from autumn frosts and are easily trained on walls.

 

Chansonette - formal double or peony wall plant

Hugh Evans - prolific single pink for walls.

Navajo - rose red with white centres. Large semi-double good hedger.

Rainbow - large single white with red border.

Showa-no-sakae - soft pink rose or semi-double form. Low grower.

 

List of Nurseries and suppliers

 

- all offer mail order unless otherwise stated.

Ashwood Nurseries, Greensforge, Kingswinford, West Midlands. Good website

Trehane Nurseries, Staplehill Road, Hampreston, Wimbourne, Dorset BH21 7NE

Trewidden Gardens, Trewidden, Penzance, Cornwall TR20 8TT.

 

Further reading

 

There are many good books on the subject so of which are out of print a web search is recommended

 

The information given in this Fact Sheet is provided in good faith. It is however of necessity general information and advice on the topic. Howard Drury will not be under any liability in respect of the provision of such advice and information and you are strongly advised to seek independent advice on any particular gardening problems or queries you may have, preferably from experts who can (when appropriate) inspect the problem before providing advice.

 

(C) 2020. This material has been produced by Howard Drury and must not be reproduced in part or full without the written consent of How

 


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