Most people know the common camellia japonica in perhaps a half dozen varieties which are mass produced. There is great variety beyond just those few. The current count is upwards of 1,000 cvs. although not all are in current production. There are also a couple other species which are present in the nursery trade. C. sasanqua and C. reticulata are sometimes to be found. C. sasanqua blooms fall and early winter and also generally has 2 other species lumped together since they have close similarities. C. hiemalis and C. vernalis are very similar to C. sasanqua to most gardeners. There are a few cvs. of each that come available on a regular basis. C. reticulata is very large flowered and showy, but has a rather more gaunt plant habit and often makes a larger bush (in great age, can reach up to 50 ft. / China). There are also some hybrids of several species camellias. Now we have many more different types of camellias. There are new species and also new hybrids to be had which are very showy and often present a different presentation of flower and plant than we are often used to seeing. We can have mass blooming cvs. as well as fragrance cvs. There are unusual foliage cvs. and even variegated leaf fomrs. Difffering growth habits are also to be found. We have weeping and contorted forms available as well as dwarf cvs.
Camellias are easy care plants for the landscape and make excellent container subjects as well. Modern hybrids give us profusion of bloom, different colors or color patterns, and sun tolerance. Well established plants are drought tolerant as well.
I like these more interesting traits which give year round interest besides just attention drawing during the bloom time.
Narrow leaf forms like the lily leaf (Yuri Tsubaki) and the weeping spotted peacock (Hakuhan Kujaku/ Kujaku Tsubaki), saw tooth leaf (Nokogiri ba) as well as the heavily serrated leaf forms like Holly Bright, Elegans Champagne, Elegans Splendor, Sakura ba, Black Majic, etc give an entirely different texture to the plant. The black flowered forms are especially lovely in close viewing. The variegated leaf forms are showy and add light to a dark garden area. Kin Sekai, Benten Kagura, Debutante Variegated, Reigyku, Taiyo, Fukrin Ikkyu, are but a few of these unusual forms. The sake’ cup leaf (Sakazuki ba) will actually hold water in its covex leaves. The goldfish tail forms are captivating plants! Here you find typical leathery glossy camellia foliage, but the tips of the leaves are just like the fan tail goldfish’s tails! There are pink and white cvs. of this type(Kingyo Tsubaki, Shiro Rancho Kingyo ba wabisuke/ White Mermaid)
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