Gardening Tips

Gardening Tips – December 2019

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ caught my eye this holiday season with its’ stunning bright red, single flowers. ‘Yuletide’ blooms in November to early December. The bright yellow stamen in the center of the flowers make them stand out in the fall garden. Camellia sasanquas have smaller flowers and leaves compared to their cousins Camellia japonica. The leaves and flowers of camellias look waxy.

‘Yuletide’ is hardy in zones 8-9 and grows 7-12 feet tall by 5-7 feet wide. Use this evergreen as a shrub or small tree. Plant it in sun or part-shade in loose, acidic soil. Camellia sansanqua should be planted a bit above ground in our area to ensure proper drainage. Because of the shallow roots, mulch the roots to prevent weeds and to help retain moisture and cool the soil. Fertilize in late winter using azalea/camellia fertilizer or an all-purpose fertilizer like 13-13-13.

Freezes can ruin the flowers but scale insects may be a problem and need to be sprayed with appropriate insecticide. Sometimes old plants may have some dieback when they are growing under stressful conditions.

Use Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ as a hedge planting, espalier, specimen plant and cut flowers. A few other red Camellia sasanquas: ‘Bonanza’– large semi-double deep red flowers good for cutting, ‘Kelly McKnight’– bright red double flowers, ‘Velvety’– single flower is crimson velvety red.

By Karen Blackburn

previous post: Gardening Tips – November 2019    next post: Gardening Tips – January 2020