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In the Magazine

Sasanqua Camellias

In the Garden > Flowering Plants & Shrubs

One of the greatest trends in Australian gardens in recent years has been towards a more formal style, with clipped hedges, standards and topiary becoming very popular. A problem with that sort of planting scheme is that throughout the entire year most hedging plants are always green. An excellent alternative is a hedge of sasanqua camellias, which can be clipped into a formal style or left to grow naturally. Most varieties have attractive glossy green foliage, with the added bonus of a beautiful autumn flower display when the rest of the garden looks bare. To give you an example of just how stunning camellia hedges can be, Don looked at 200 plants of Camellia sasanqua 'Pure Silk' lining a driveway. They were put in about five years ago, and are now around 4 metres (13') tall.

Plant details

Common name: Sasanqua camellia
Botanic name: Camellia sasanqua
Description: Small evergreen tree or large shrub from Japan which grows to around 6 metres (20') tall and 4 metres (13') wide. Flowers are mostly singles or semi-doubles and they range in colour from white through to deep pinks and reds. The main flowering time is from autumn to early winter.
Best climate: Camellia sasanqua grows well in Brisbane, Perth, Sydney, and in warm sheltered microclimates in Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart and the Mountains.

Best look:

hedge screen informal espalier tubs

Good points:

more sun tolerant and faster growing than Camellia japonica beautiful autumn flower display when the rest of the garden is looking drab scented flowers

Care:

Sasanqua camellias prefer a slightly acid, humus rich soil with good drainage. They will grow in either full sun or partial shade. Fertilise in spring with camellia and azalea food, and mulch with compost or milled cow manure. When putting in a hedge of sasanqua camellias, space plants about 1 metre (3') apart. If a uniform look is wanted, it's important that the plants are all the same variety, to avoid differences in foliage, colour and growth habits. Prune after flowering to maintain shape and bushiness.

Newer varieties of sasanquas shown:

Early Pearly: Large white formal double flowers with a pearly blush on outer petals. Good for a hedge or espalier.
Otome-Sazanka: Delicate pink, informal double flowers. Good for low hedge or tub.
Dwarf shishi: Very dark red flowers with a lighter coloured centre.
Rosette: Small well proportioned flowers which are rose pink with fluted petals.

Getting started:

Camellia sasanquas cost around $17 for 200mm (8") sized pots. They are available at specialist camellia nurseries around Australia, including:

New South Wales

Camellia Grove Nursery (where our segment was filmed)
8 Cattai Ridge Road,
Glenorie  2157
Ph: 9652 1200

Queensland

Birkdale Nursery
438 Old Cleveland Road East
Birkdale, 4159
Phone: (07) 3286 0333

South Australia

Newman's Nursery
North East Road
Tea Tree Gully, 5091
Phone: (08) 8264 2661

Western Australia

John Cole's Nursery
Lot 5, Beenyup Road
Banjup, 6164
Phone: (08) 9417 6164

Copyright CTC Productions

Disclaimer:  Burke's Backyard and Backyard Blitz do not accept payment to promote products. All recommendations are genuine. Details on the fact sheets are accurate at the time of publishing, however prices and contact information are not updated and may change.

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