This week’s Plant of the Week is one of Don’s all time favourites, the sasanqua camellia.
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.
Varieties shown in our segment:
‘Beatrice Emily’ is a tall, upright cultivar. It has informal double flowers that are magenta in the bud, opening to creamy-white with lavender margins on the outer petals. This camellia was named after Beatrice Emily Brown. She and her husband ran Pentecost Nursery in Sydney. Don knew the Browns and worked for many years with their son, Kevin.
‘Early Pearly’ has pink buds opening to large, ivory white flowers resembling waterlilies. It has a medium to strong, upright growth habit and dark green, shiny leaves.
‘Kanjiro’ (often sold as ‘Hiryu’) is tall and bushy with dark, glossy foliage. The large, single to semi-double flowers are deep cerise, with paler shading at the centre and base of the petals.
‘Yuletide’ has single, glowing ember red flowers with prominent yellow stamens. The bush is upright, and has dense, glossy green foliage.
‘Shibori-egao’ has mid pink, semi-double blooms with prominent yellow stamens.
‘Paradise Petite’ is a compact variety with soft, icing pink flowers. A relatively low growing plant, it is well suited to hedges and pots.
Best climate: Camellia sasanqua grows well in Brisbane, Perth, Sydney, and in warm sheltered microclimates in Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart and the Mountains.
Uses: 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
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.
Camellia sasanquas cost around $20-$25 for 200mm (8") sized pots. They are available at nurseries and specialist camellia nurseries around Australia, including:
Camellia Grove Nursery
8 Cattai Ridge Road,
Ph: 9652 1200
1666 Old Cleveland Road,
Phone: (07) 3390 1633
Fax: (07) 3390 1618
North East Road
Tea Tree Gully, 5091
Phone: (08) 8264 2661
John Cole’s Nursery
Lot 5, Beenyup Road
Phone: (08) 9417 9834