Sasanqua Camellias Are Still Blooming

Alabama Beauty is an outstanding upright camellia.

Prostrate Sparkling Burgundy about 10 years old

An upright Jean May is a beautiful heavy blooming pink. This plant is about 20 years old and has been limbed up to small tree form.

Sparkling Burgundy is a great prostrate type camellia

The October Magic series is upright and a great bloomer in our area.

Even after the cold weather this week my Sparkling Burgundy sasanquas look fine. That is why I think sasanqua camellias are the A-plus blooming shrubs of fall. They like high filtered shade for best blooming but can take shade and some sun most of the day. There are several things to remember about these plants. First, there are two growing types – upright and prostrate. More selections are upright in our area than prostrate. Recently I was shocked that the big box stores were not labeling the sasanquas by name, and they had all been pruned the same. This is bad news, as many folks depend on the lables for size, color, and name. That is a good reason to buy these from your local garden center. Remember their habit of growth will determine placement. For the best choice of flower types, I like to buy them in bloom, and now is an excellent planting time. There are singles, doubles, peony types, and I am sure other bloom clusters unknown to me. Also the colors vary from bold solids and pastels to shades and bicolors of red, pink, and white. These plants like well drained, fertile soil, and I think they are very easy to grow. The only major insect problem is camellia tea scale, and that is easily controlled. So remember, even after a bit of cold, sasanquas keep on blooming.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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