Japonica Kumasaka Bloom Time and Protection for Washington DC

ikea_gwOctober 6, 2009

I have been wanting a camellia for a while and our nursery has a Kumasaka on sale right now. I live right outside of Washington DC, and I am wondering if anyone around here grow this variety. If so please provide any useful info you may have on it, ie when does it bloom, do the buds get frost damaged, where should I put it? Thanks in advance!

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

There are a few people. dave_in_nova participates in the Camellia Society of the Pottomac Valley (see the link below). You can hit the Back Button of your browser and do a search on keywords like Washington or DC or D.C. or etc to send a GW Email if their set up allows it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Camellia Society of the Potomac Valley

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 12:55PM
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The camellia literature states that the flower buds of 'Kumasaka' are extremely cold tolerant. The plant is also vegetatively tolerant of cold. There are reports that 'Kumasaka' is grown successfully outdoors in Toronto, Canada. In northwestern South Carolina, this variety mainly blooms in March and April. Occasionally, there may be blooms in February and as late as early May. 'Kumasaka' is classified as a midseason to late bloomer, and it should do well in the Middle Atlantic States.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 4:06PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

I haven't visited this forum for a while!

Kumasaka IS one of the better varieties for this area. It's quite bud-hardy. I think it's beautiful too! I've seen what I believe might be Kumasakas in Vienna, VA in open locations and on West and North sides of homes, near the foundation. I would say North and West sites near the house would be the best locations... especially a location where it does not get early morning sun. I have one on the North side of my house about 10 feet back from the wall -- but it is rather small. It gets some afternoon sun, but mostly shade in low-sun wintertime.

I think they bloom in April around here.

If you would like to extend your camellia bloom time, look for a Spring's Promise as well, you would really like that one. Mine STARTED blooming Christmas Day last winter and continued off and on during mild spells. And it's a tough plant.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 8:06AM
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Does camellia get any protection from surrounding plants if it is planted among evergreen shrubs? I am asking this since I have a spot about 5 feet behind my neighbor's shed that need some nice focal point planting.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 8:52PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

It would get some protection from drying winds for example but not necessarily from cold temperatures. If the shrub becomes taller than the surrounding evergreens, the protection will fail in the part of the plant exposed to the winds.

As long as the camellia is good in Zone 7, it would be ok. The only thing to be worried about would be fungal issues with ANY of the plants. It is normally recommended that there be some separation between shrubs to increase air flow and minimize fungal problems.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 6:19PM
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'Kumasaka' seems to be a popular variety at the big chain store nurseries (at least in zone 7/Metro NYC/NJ. I planted a row of them in front of a bank of deciduos shrubs for protection from summer sun/heat (in a western exposure). They have excellent leaf color. Mulching well but not excessively is a good idea. (I am not sure about planting at this time time of year--especially in colder zones.) I do know that most of our broadleaf evergreens tend to do better if given some degree of shading from the strongest of winter sun and wind. If I planted one at this time of year, I would apply an antidessicant spray for its first winter. Good luck! PS., My biggest challenge with growing them is trying to keep the deer from eating them.--Eggshells seem to really work--for the time being--with this problem.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 9:28AM
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How big would this camellia get eventually? Or a better question is perhaps how big it will be in 5 years given that it is about 4 feet tall right now? I put the potted camellia on the west side of my house right now and it seems to be doing just fine. Even after our 2 feet of snow!! :)

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 8:16PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

With some exceptions, Camellias generally grow very slowly. The ones that I have only add a few inches each year. But they will easily outlive any of us if properly cared for.

Measure its height now and make a note in your wall calendar to recheck it in December 2010. That will give you a precise idea of growth for your neckofthewoods.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 1:25PM
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