Recommendations for a Long Bloom Season

plantmarker(z7 NC)April 12, 2010

Hello Folks -

I am looking for camellia recommendations that will create as close to year-round bloom interest as possible, starting with the early bloomers and ending with the late ones. I will want a variety of colors and forms, even though the large blooming formals and anemones are very appealing.

I live in west central N.C., USDA Zone 7A.

Thank you very much for your help.


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Late blooming Japonica--Tudor Baby-- Mine is in full bloom right now

Late blooming Retic--- Nuccios Ruby

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 6:09AM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

I think it's reasonable to be able to find camellia varieties that bloom in Fall, Winter and Spring. Doubtful in Summer - especially in zone 7A.

Sasanquas and similar hybrids are generally Fall and early Winter bloomers. Earliest ones can start around October. Do some research to find a good mix of selections that will span that time.

For winter, I can tell you that 'Spring's Promise' is capable of starting around Christmas and then off and on until mid-April. There are probably many others that will be able to bloom during warm spells in Winter.

Likewise, many japonicas are capable of blooming from Winter thru April. Some earlier, some later.

Dr. Ackerman has a good book 'Beyond the Camellia Belt: Breeding, Propagating, and Growing Cold-Hardy Camellias' in which I believe there is a chart that shows many different relatively hardy varieties and their bloom times. Many of which overlap to provide you with uninterupted blooming. BUT in zone 7A all blooming will cease during cold spells.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 7:21PM
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Kanjiro, a hiemalis camellia often sold as a sasanqua, is the longest blooming camellia I know of. I think I've seen someone post that they had one that started blooming in late August and kept going through March or April. Though I'm not certain that their more southerly experiences would apply directly to Zone 7, Kanjiro is known to bloom from the early to the late season. It will grow anywhere from full sun to full shade, and will bloom heavily in nice shaded red flowers that are good for cutting. Vigorous and upright.

Another long-blooming hiemalis camellia is Shishigashira (sometimes spelled Shishi Gashira), a very low-growing wide one that started blooming here in late September or early October last fall. The last beautiful little rosey rose-like bloom was picked in mid-February. It's bloom period is described in my camellia book as early to mid season. Its buds are exceptionally hardy. It can make a lovely low hedge if you need something like that. We have it in front of a tall sasanqua camellia and it looks wonderful that way too.

This past winter was a bit unusual so it's hard to generalize too far, but Japonica Professor C.S. Sargent has always bloomed a pretty good while here too. This year it started in (late?) November and still had one bloom on it last week. I think the very cold earlier winter temperatures encouraged all the camellias to wait longer to finish up their blooming and ordinarily it might be finished up earlier, like around late February. It's officially described in my book as blooming in early to mid season. Professor Sargent is extraordinarily bud hardy, as well as plant hardy, and makes a good cut flower too.

I don't know exactly when Japonica Nuccio's Jewel gets started blooming ordinarily because I haven't had it long enough, but it's loaded with late blooms right now, and they are ***gorgeous*** flowers. It makes a good cut flower too. It's described in my book as a mid to late bloomer.

Best wishes,

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 1:49AM
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I garden in Zone 7b and suggest that you look for the following early-blooming _Camellia japonica_ cultivars: (1.) 'Arejishi,' aka 'Aloha.' 'Arejishi' has long been considered the earliest-blooming japonica. It can begin blooming as early as August, possibly July, and is generally finished blooming by December. It has a red, peony-form flower.
(2.) 'September Morn,' aka 'Yohei Haku.' In our garden, 'September Morn' produces a rose-form white flower with a slight yellowish cast in its throat. Depending on one's gardening conditions, 'September Morn' can be a very pale pink. It begins blooming in September and continues through October and November, maybe longer.
(3.) 'Daikagura' is a popular, old early cultivar with red, marbled white double blooms. It blooms reliably in October and will continue blooming through winter and spring. It is a gorgeous variety that sports freely. There is a light pink sport named 'High Hat,' a white sport named 'Conrad Hilton,' and a red sport named 'Daikagura Red.'
In our garden, 'Kumasaka,' 'Blood of China,' and 'Pink Champagne,' aka 'Camellian,' bloom into mid-April. I also noticed a few blooms on 'Mathotiana' and 'Reg Ragland Supreme' this morning. The problem with late bloomers in the Southeast is that the plants are blooming at the same time they're dropping their old foliage and "breaking" with new growth.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 2:13PM
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