A bloomin’ bush: camellia sasanqua

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 4, 2018

One of my neighbors asked me what type of crepe myrtle was blooming at this time of year in my yard? It’s loaded with small, pink blooms.
Ironically, the small tree isn’t a crape myrtle at all but a tree-form sasanqua camellia (Camellia sasanqua). These evergreen shrubs are now boasting full fall blooms across the county.
Sasanqua type camellias bloom generally in the fall, while the larger bloomed camellia japonica species bloom in the spring. Sasanqua blooms are smaller and less showy than japonica camellias but are generally more reliable with a showcase of blooms.
The plant is also more tolerate of sun and cold temperatures than the japonica species. These multipurpose shrubs can be utilized as a colorful hedge row or they can be placed in a landscape as specimen plants.
Sasanquas are acid-loving plants, with nutritional requirements similar to azaleas and rhododendron. Specialty type azalea/camellia fertilizers are available at local garden shops and retail outlets. Slow release fertilizers work well because they seldom burn plants, when properly applied.
To promote growth and bloom, fertilize in April and again in June as a split application. Never apply lime around camellia sasanquas or other acid loving plants.