In The Garden Now … Christmas Camellia

Friday, December 25, 2015

‘Yuletide’ Camellia
Text and photos by Victoria Gilleland

Here’s a plant that screams “Holiday Season!”  It flowers in November and December just in time for holiday decorating and gift giving. The bright red single flowers coordinate perfectly with the red and green holiday color scheme seen everywhere this time of year. And the name Yuletide certainly makes the connection.

‘Yuletide Camellia’ produces a plethora of small, single, bright red flowers with gold centers on a dense, compact upright shrub in late fall or early winter. The plant is hardy in Northwest Gardens but flowers are sometimes damaged by winter frost. Grow in a somewhat sheltered location if possible. More flowers will be produced if the plant has a sunny place in the garden during the summer months. Yuletide, like most Sasanqua Camellia, tolerates sun and can actually thrive in full sun with the proper soil and enough water. Camellias like acid soil and growing conditions similar to that of azaleas and rhododendrons.

‘Pink-a-Boo’ Camellia

If the intense red blossoms of Yuletide are too harsh for your taste you just might enjoy ‘Pink-a-Boo’ -- a newer variety that is essentially a pink Yuletide. While Yuletide is somewhat fragrant, Pink-a-Boo is very fragrant … a bonus that can truly be appreciated in the winter garden.

The other day, while standing between Yuletide and Pink-a-Boo Camellias, I was buzzed by several very concerned hummingbirds. I think they thought I was after their nectar stash! I got out of their way and watched for quite a while as the tiny birds darted from flower to flower. The single flowers with such easy access to nectar were irresistible to the little guys!

Consider bringing a bit of Winter Cheer and a hummingbird or two into your garden with ‘Yuletide’ or ‘Pink-a-Boo’ Camellia!

Botanical Name: Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ or Camellia x vernalis ‘Yuletide’ and Camellia sasanqua ‘Pink-a-Boo'.

Victoria Gilleland is the owner of Cottage Garden Designs, a Garden Design company specializing in Redesign of Residential Gardens, Garden Consultation and Coaching. She has been designing gardens in the northwest for over 20 years.


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