Camellias: Which is your favorite?

david(SW Ga.)July 17, 1998

I'm a nurseryman interested in growing camellias. The only problem is that there are literally thousands to choose from. I would like everyones response on their favorite so that I might could slim down the list to the ones that everyone likes. Please list sasanqua, japonica or the other two lesser favorites along with (of course) its variety. Thanks -David-

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Ron Ahles

My favorite is "gigi" sasanqua.

Small pink flowers and small dark green leaves.

Bushes are absolutely covered with blooms in early Spring - I live in Houston, Texas. They take full sun very well.

I would like to learn of other sasanquas that do well in this climate.

    Bookmark   August 11, 1999 at 11:15PM
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Gloria McCoy

My favorite is "Donation." It is from the Williamsii group and is a gorgeous pink.

    Bookmark   August 12, 1999 at 9:15PM
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sally(z5/6 PA)

David, how can you ask someone to choose a favorite camellia? There are so many georgous ones that I think whatever you choose will be many people's favorite, or if they are like me will become their favorite when they see it! That said, I must say that Berenice Boddy is currently at the top of my list, though Pink Perfection is a sentimental favorite--my grandfather grew it. I like the formal doubles. And all the others! BTW, Ms. Boddy was a favorite of Elizabeth Laurence, an excellent recommendation.

    Bookmark   August 24, 1999 at 9:37AM
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Joyce(Zone 7b LI, NY)

Definitely Pink Perfection. I've been looking for one for years and finally found a nursery who sold me what was supposed to be one and wasn't. It's a lovely pink camellia, but it isn't a Pink Perfection which has a small blossom similar to the Heritage rose. It's easy to see where it gets it's name.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2000 at 9:20PM
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frank fagan

My Favorites.
Pink: 'Laurie Bray'
Red: 'Miss Charleston'
White: 'Campsie Alba'
Variegated: 'Margaret Davis'

Pink: 'Anticipation'
Red: 'Les Jury'
White: 'Jill Totty'
Variegated 'E.G. Waterhouse Variegated'

    Bookmark   February 26, 2000 at 5:29PM
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Rose White

2 Marthas is my favorite, I saw it in a flower show and cannot find any in Atlanta now. At Christmas someone said they were selling at Pike's Nurseries but now no one has any. Please advise if you know the whereabouts of 2 Marthas camellias!!!! I would love to enjoy them in my garden.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2000 at 9:51AM
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Doris Wimber

I had a gorgeous tall plant double white, probably Camellia japonica alba plena, popular years ago. It bloomed in March and was a beauty in our long, wet winters in western Oregon. It survived the occasional zero temps, reached the second floor windows, grew very happily on the north side of the house, with no special attention. I`d love to find one for my new house, but I can`t locate it anywhere. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2000 at 7:41PM
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japonica- c.m.wilson, pink, anemone flowered; i may have this one in too much shade, as the flower production is sparse, but what beauties! large, with georgeous shades of pink.
sasanqua- shishi gashira, glowing hot pink(maybe fuschia?). the bush stands out in the landscape with electric color in the fall. slow growing, with nice mounded shape.

a good white with perfect form is white-by-the-gate.

i have 8 shrubs now, with only 2 sasanquas, but plan to add more. they allow the gardener to have flowers yearround.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2000 at 5:48PM
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I have a Governor Moulton which has really been a winner for me in zone 8. We have had one of our most miserable sumers and it is set to start blooming before too long. It was just a real winner last winner and is very dark green.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2000 at 9:38PM
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Joy H

Valentine Day. Hard to find.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2000 at 1:47AM
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Cathy - 7b

I will second 'Donation, which I have, and 'White by the Gate,' which I passed up because I did not need another camillia and have regretted ever since. (Though I know nothing about growing WBTG, it was one of the most beautiful camillias I have seen.)

Also, I have a sansanqua camellia 'Shi-Shi Gashira,' which I have enjoyed very much because of its reliable rasberry pink 2" blooms, beautiful dark green foliage, and very small stature compared to other camillias. It is a perfect camillia for people who do not have space for most camillias that will eventually be 8-15' tall. My shrubs, which were 3 gal. size when I bought them 6+ years ago are 3 to 3 1/2 feet tall, spreading, and not vigorous growers at all. I have several other camillias I enjoy but would not recommend because they are not as reliable bloomers as 'Donation' and 'Shi-Shi Gashira.'

    Bookmark   October 28, 2000 at 7:44PM
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Cathy - 7b

Correction to previous post: 'Shi-Shi Gashira' has THREE inch blossoms.

Also want to mention sasanqua 'Pink Snow' (beautiful pale clear pink 4" blossoms), which has not bloomed prolificly for me until this year. This is one of the few camillias purported to have a fragrance, which I had not experienced until tonight. I brought a couple blossoms into the house and when fully opened they gave off a pleasant musty floral perfume. This camillia grows vigorously, throwing off long branch shoots each summer, which I trim off, as I am trying to keep in reasonable bounds as long as possible at its close to house location. However, feel this would be an excellent cultivar for screening purposes.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2000 at 9:49PM
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John D

In my damp corner of the Pacific Northwest:
Apple Blossom
Freedom Bell
Jean May
Nuccio's Gem
Nuccio's Pearl
Swan Lake
Tom Knudsen
Water Lily
Winter's Star
+ Camellia sinensis (I have both white and pink flowered ones)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2000 at 6:14AM
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does anyone know where i can purchase a camillia tree, I'm looking for a mail-order source, or internet.
Please advise, thanks.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2000 at 3:39PM
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wanda(Z9 CA)

Did anyone mention 'Yuletide'? Those deep red petals with showy yellow stamens makes a wonderful statement around the holidays!


    Bookmark   January 3, 2001 at 1:35PM
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Carolrose(z5 NY)

I'm looking for a camellia that will grown in my area. I'm in zone 5, bur right on the cusp of 6. I'm going to try something, because I'm desparate to have a camellia. Any sugesions would be appreciated. I fell in love with these a few years ago, and whether or not it works remains to be seen. So, if I'm going to plant one, which one should it be?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2001 at 11:05PM
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I am interested in any camillias which will withstand freezing temperatures down to about -15 degrees. I read that there are several kinds, but I cannot find where to buy them. Would appreciate any suggestions. My email is We have damp springs followed by hot and dry summers. I am near Tulsa, OK. Thanks

    Bookmark   June 23, 2002 at 4:25PM
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Debutante, without question!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2002 at 6:38PM
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I am in agreement with your statement that there are thousands to choose from. I am having the hardest time trying to decide which one I would like to grow. Maybe the following three might do at present. [not]

C japonica 'Royal Velvet'
C japonica 'Tama no ura'
C japonica 'Your Truly'


    Bookmark   June 24, 2002 at 4:02PM
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midtn(7a TN)

I don't know about zone 5. I am on the warm edge of zone 6 and a nursery here recommended the April series. I have April remembered. Here is a link that may help.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2002 at 11:00PM
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C. japonica Purple Dawn is my favorite. The huge blooms are so subtly colored and it lasts so long as a cut flower. Also hard to find.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2002 at 12:10AM
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Definitely...the classic one: "Alba Plena". From my point of view, there are few flowers out there so....perfect?

    Bookmark   October 28, 2002 at 9:43AM
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I would love to have a Yuletide Camellia susanqua. Does anyone have any that they would like to exchange for a lotus tuber, Peter's Honey fig tree, or Yellow water iris?

    Bookmark   December 28, 2002 at 8:43PM
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I too am looking for a camellia that grows in zone 5. I am hoping to find four that can be grown on either side of two arbors and several to run along a fence that will grow and 4'-5'.

It seems that things are just a bit too cold here for the plants and shrubs that are my favorites. Guess living in zone 6 a good portion of my life has spoiled me.

Any assistance will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2003 at 9:11PM
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And don't forget the most interesting blooms of C. japonica "Lady Van Sittart"

    Bookmark   March 10, 2003 at 8:28PM
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I agree with Nigella, Purple Dawn..

    Bookmark   March 18, 2003 at 4:05AM
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I've just recently become addicted to camellias and plan to plant more this fall. So far, my favorite japonica is "C.M. Wilson". My favorite sasanqua is "Bonanza." I really like the sasanqua because they are more reliable at blooming. I also have "Cleopatra," "Hana Jiman," and "Yuletide".

    Bookmark   September 25, 2003 at 3:09PM
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cropdoctor(zone 9 usda)

My favorites have already been mentioned a few times, C. japonica "Debutante", a truly beautiful double peony type in shell pink, and "Nuccio's pearl", double white with shell pink edges on the interior petals. The flower shape is as important to me as color. Both of these beautiful shrubs are very vigorous and dark green. A perfect foil for the flowers! "Nuccio's Jem" is also a winner in pure angelic white. Enjoy

    Bookmark   January 8, 2004 at 4:22PM
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