Looking for Dec - Jan bloom

cweathersbyJanuary 25, 2007

I am hoping to find a camellia that sets buds that open in December and January. It seems that the camellias that I have bloom mostly in November (sasanquas) and February (japonicas). Some don't bloom at all because the buds get frozen.

Does anyone know of any camellias whose buds are hardy to the cold and whose flowers open succesively over a 2 month period starting in December? Or maybe you know a camellia which does one thing but not the other?

Please let me know. I'd like to extend my camellia flowering season with some different varieties.


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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Hello, Carrie. Be aware that it is difficult to get camellias (or any plant for that matter) to reliably bloom when the calendar page turns into December. For example, here in Dallas/Ft. Worth, I have had Yuletide Camellia & Kramer's Supreme Camellia start blooming in November once, December twice and not bloom once.

Unfortunately, the fact that they bloom for me like that does not guarantee that they will do the same in your area. The safest/best way to accomplish your goal may be to see what is actually growing your area during the December/January months.

I suggest that you stop by the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden during those months and check their Vance Burks Memorial Camellia Garden. Or you could just drive around town to see if you find any blooming camellias. Or you could experiment with these: Mrs. Charles Cobb, Alba Plena, Taylor's Perfection and Shishi Gashira.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 3:48AM
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Thanks for the advice.
I have taken notice of the camellias blooming in this area, but I have no idea what their names are, and most of them were planted long, long ago, often in areas of town that are now abandoned. So I was hoping to find out which named varieties might work. What I will probably end up doing is grafting some of these that I've been noticing for the last few years.
Since they don't bloom according to a calendar date, maybe it would be best for me to ask which are the latest blooming sasanquas and earliest blooming japonicas.
I have not noticed any camellias around here blooming in December, but I continue to hope that there are some that do. After all, not many gardeners seem to be planting camellias these days, the only ones I see are the very very old ones and I think that new varieties must have come out since then.
Also, which varieties of camellias open their buds over a long period of time instead of all at once? I really get dissapointed when they all open at once and then a freeze zaps them and there are no more blooms until the following year. The vast majority of camellias here in Texarkana lose their flowers due to cold. There are only 3 varieties that I have noticed which continue to bloom after a cold spell.
And which varieties have buds that are cold hardy? So many camellias drop their buds due to low temperatures.
I bought some Shi-Shi Gashiras last year because I had read that they are very long blooming, and so far this seems to be true.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 8:10PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Hello, Carrie. Some of the varieties mentioned in my previous reply are good ones to check. Here are comments about your questions:

1. Some of the latest blooming sasanquas: Yuletide, Shishi Hashira

2. Some the earliest blooming japonicas: Kramer's Supreme, Mrs. Charles Cobb, Alba Plena and Taylor's Perfection (a hybrid cross of c. japonica and c. saluensis)

3. I have not observed my camellias opening all their blooms at the same time. Maybe all of mine open within a two-week period or so. But, like I said, I have not been counting....

4. Regardless of camellia variety, open camellia blossoms are normally damaged at temperatures below +26 to +28 degrees F while flower buds are damaged at temperatures below +10 to +15 degrees F. That problem is shared with most other blooming evergreens whose flowers also suffer when temps go below freezing. Luckily, temperatures this low should not be a problem for the rest of the plant itself (leaves, stems, trunk, roots). To protect the open blooms from cold damage, some people will (a) cover the plants during a cold spell and (b) select a planting location where the plant is somewhat shielded from cold winds.

I hope that helps,

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 10:42PM
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Thanks Luis.
I have noticed that Yuletide blooms Dec - Jan in my area and tends to open more buds even when the flowers have frozen.
I just got a Kramer's Supreme and look forward to enjoying it.
And I've been looking at Taylor's Perfection and now I think I'm going to get it.
Thank you for those suggestions. It helps to know that you are in DFW and experience most of the same weather extremes that we do over here in Texarkana. It seems to me that the weather over there is always just a little bit colder than it is here.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 6:21PM
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here are two sometimes-in-january bloomers in my garden.
one of my favorites, 'c.m. wilson' has been in flower for 2-3 weeks here.
they were beautiful this weekend but after a 21 degree night with wind chill of 14, they are light-brown toast this morning! the price that an early bloomer pays, i reckon.
also, 'grace albritton', with comparatively tiny flowers, has been blooming for about the same period.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 11:41AM
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forgot to mention that my 'white-by-the-gate' normally begins to open in late december or early january.
if you are not familiar, you can see a photo of this one and 'c.m. wilson' in the thread "if you could only have 5" on this forum.

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 11:47AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Carrie, I went today to the Dallas Arboretum where the only things blooming were camellias. The following varities were in bloom or finishing their bloomage: Debutante, Mathiotana, Pink Fragrance and Prof. C. Sargent. Luis

    Bookmark   February 3, 2007 at 9:01PM
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Thanks, Luis.
You would think that the Dallas Arboretum would have more things blooming. They must not be trying for winter blooms.
Do you have any plants other than camellias that bloom during the winter? I am about to turn a part of my yard into a 'winter garden' and it will be mostly camellias but I am looking for other plants to put in there.
The best winter blooms that I have right now are Chimonanthes praecox (winter sweet) and winter honeysuckle.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 4:14PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Hello, Carrie. It is very hard to get bloomage from perennials this time of the year so I know what you are going through. I have considered adding some japonicas that bloom starting in January or February but have other projects to take care of first. Examples of some of these are Glen 40, Greensboro Red, Pearl Maxwell and Swan Lake (aka, Monke). In the meantime, I will have to do with flowering quince.

I suggest you try Jet Trail Quince, which has white blooms, does not grow tall and looks good during the summer. I have two quinces of a pink variety that started blooming about a week ago.

Also consider hellebores (aka, Lenten Rose) and forsythia. They bloom early too. I have no hellebores but my forsythia should start blooming between now and month end, more or less.

Btw, take some pictures when your winter garden is blooming and share it with us!


    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 1:09AM
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longriver(SF Bay Area)

Definately you have more choices. My house usually experiences colder temperature than other surounding cities. I had 3 inches thick ice formation in containers this year which reminded me similar situation years ago in DF area.

Two good fragrant plants have not showed any cold damage. Bother plant have been showing nice fragrant flowers.
1.Daphne odora( the original habitat in China has occasional ice and snow). It is ever green with intensive fragrant flower.
2. Camellia Yuhsienensis, a camellia species: You can order it from the nursery specialized for camellia. There are at least three cultivars,( regular, high yield & high quality of camellia oil production and sl. more fragrant & sl. larger flower). Most nursery has only regular one. Let me show you this picture of larger flowers, the bright white petal, like butterfly wings, showing no scratch from freezing. You need cut a flower keeping it indoor to detect the fragrance.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 11:56AM
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Thank you.
I have daphne odora. The blooms are not quite open yet.
That camellia doesn't look like any camellia I have seen. The blooms and leaves look more like magnolia. If the blooms do not show much damage from freezing then that is a camellia that I would like to have.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 5:10PM
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I have lived in the same town as you for about 8 years. TXK has a terrible climate for camellias. It is too hot in the summer, and is subject to sudden large temperature drops - two of the worse things for camellias and camellia flowers. Camellias flower buds can take significant cold temperatures over a gradual drop, but sudden drops are disastrous to buds that are close to opening. I have well over 50 varieties and species of camellias, and have found very few that will reliably flower in January. If the sudden heavy freezes hold off in December; you can have lots of blooms but you can not count on it. Previously I lived in NE South Carolina with a "colder" zone of 7. It was much easier to have good blooms there over most of the winter. Here, my most reliable camellia for January is Professor Charles S. Sargent. I have found my Eleanor Hagwood flowers very cold resistant, but the buds will not open in this cold weather. I see many people recommending Yuletide, but I am very seriously thinking about cutting mine down and grafting a better camellia on it. Over 6 years, I have probably got about 6 flowers total that did not freeze. I would forget about camellias here for January, but there lots of very nice camellias that can extend the season into April. I have a couple of varieties that flower into May. I have some other camellias in flower now, but most of these have been heavily damaged by the very changeable weather. You are welcome to see what I have, just email for a convenient time.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 8:50PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Talking about unpredictability and surprises.... My Kramer's Supremes began flowering one week ago. Much later than other years but, I am glad regardless! Luis

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 1:13AM
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