camelia hedge... one variety or mix it up?

green_thumb_wannabe(7)April 9, 2014

I have been working on a landscape plan for our newly built home and would love some advice from you all regarding a camellia hedge. I would like a nice evergreen hedge along the side of our house (partial to full sun) and was originally thinking of just using a row of needlepoint hollies. This morning at the nursery, the owner highly recommended that I change it to a row of camellias. He has many varieties on site and I thought they were beautiful so I am definitely considering using them. My question is this: should I mix the varieties in the hedge to get different flowers and different bloom times or should I just go with one that I like the best (like Taylor's Perfection) along the whole row. The nursery owner thinks I will like the variety of colors and bloom times, but I really want the hedge to have a clean, uniform look to the hedge (same height, width, color of green, etc). What do you all think?

By the way, the wall I would be putting them along is about 27 feet in length, the brick is a light color, and there are only a few small windows on the first floor which are about 8 feet above the ground so the hedge won't block any windows. This side of the house is very visible from the street so I would be nice to have some pretty flowers there. We live in the piedmont region of NC, zone 7. Thank you for any input or advice you might give!

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

The advantage of all the same is that they all bloom and look the same. The problem is that the blooming season can be short.

The advantage of mixing different varieties is that -hopefully- you choose varieties that bloom at different times and thus you get bloomage for a longer amount of time. As long as you choose different camellias with similar growth habits and similar height-width, you may be close.

An mixed alternative may be a hedge of all Pink Perfections because, I am told, it has a very long blooming season.

The color green on the leaves should not be an issue; especially when looked at from far away.

Someone who did a good job planting a hedge of camellias that bloom AT ABOUT THE SAME TIE, is Yuri Panchul. See his sansanquas in bloom on the link below.


I guess I did not quite help much with that answer, hu?

Here is a link that might be useful: Yuri Panchul's Garden

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 11:20PM
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I think there could be advantages/disadvantages of either approach. Choosing several varieties could give you an extended period of floral interest as Luis indicated. Camellia Forest Nursery (in Chapel Hill) has been in business for a long time and has introduced many cold tolerant varieties. I hope to visit them some time, but this time of year (if near to you) would seem to be ideal. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 11:36PM
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1st every verity has a different growth habit, some are fast some are slower some grow up, others grow out, stop and think what type would you like as there are many, the main 2 are Camellia sasanqua which will grow in sun or shade ands comes in a range of colours, most are small single flowers in Autumn. and Camellia japonica grows better in the shade and has larger flowers in arrange of colours double and single flowers winter, E spring. for a hedge I like C sasanquas as they have a smaller leaf and trim up well. But only 1 verity

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 11:48PM
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i would plant a hedge of one cultivar. i have several cultivars planted but mine are all situated in a sort of woodland setting with distance between them. hedge implies a more formal appearance to me and you get that look by repetition.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 2:47PM
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Thank you all for your responses!

Luis -- that was helpful advice and thank you for the photo!

Restoner -- thank you for your input and it's nice to know there is a camellia nursery in Chapel Hill.. not too far away from me.

Fred -- thanks for the information! Being new to camellias, I have been researching them and think that the sansanqua species would be better for the side of the house that gets morning shade, but hot afternoon sun. I hope they'll grow there!

Jeff -- Thanks! I think you're right that one variety is better in this situation since I do want to keep it a little more formal looking. I have woods in the back and may add some different varieties back there later on.

Thank you all for your time and opinions! I really appreciate it!


    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 9:19AM
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vmr423(Zone 8b, SC)

I'm looking at the photo, and I don't see any shade. Sasanquas will tolerate sun without the leaf discoloration that japonicas often get in sunny spots. If a shade tree is planned for the yard, then I would think any type of camellia should do fine.

Taylor's Perfection may tolerate a sunny location if your climate is fairly humid- your nursery contact could tell you how much shade it needs in your area. I didn't think TP was all that exciting from looking at photos, but when I saw it in person, I really liked the bloom shape- I can see why you like it!

Sasanquas have a shorter bloom time than japonicas. They will bloom like crazy for several weeks, and the rest of the year are very attractive evergreen shrubs with smaller leves than japonicas. I have seen long hedges of sasanquas trimmed to the same general size/shape, and the look is dense, green and leafy- in a word, hedge-like.

To me, japonicas used as hedges don't provide the same uniform appearance simply because their leaves are bigger. Some will do a better job of being hedge-like than others, though, depending on their habit (dense being hedgier than an open habit). If you're planning to use hedge-clippers, small-leaved sasanqua-type camellias look much better, IMO. Whatever type you choose, remember to prune just after plants bloom, or you risk losing the next year's flowers.

If it were me, I would go with two different cultivars, and alternate them, so that you have some variety, but a pattern making things more formal. You could choose a fall-bloomer and alternate with a spring bloomer such as TP... Or find a variety that complements TP and blooms at the same time.

Since the general recommendation is to plant camellias about 6 feet apart for a hedge, 27 feet will allow 5-6 plants. Most camellias will get to a small tree size eventually if left alone- sasanquas grow more quickly than japonicas- but it will take any variety some time to get to 8-feet, and all camellias take pruning back pretty well.

If you decide that TP isn't going to tolerate your sunny site, consider using some sasanqua-type camellias. Varieties I like include 'Leslie Ann', 'Early Pearly', 'Stars'n'Stripes', Navajo', 'Kanjiro', 'Jean May' and 'Snow Flurry'.

If you prefer the look/ blooming season of japonicas, camellias with red blooms are usually considered more sun-tolerant than those with lighter colored flowers. And higher humidity does seem to make it easier to grow japonicas in sunny spots...

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 3:24AM
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