The Q&A Archives: Hardy Camellia Japonica

Question: Patt,

Thank you so much for your prompt and insightful answers to my previous questions regarding a gardenia/camellia privacy hedge. Here is my final question: Do you know a cultivar of camellia japonica that can tolerate all sorts of sun variations (full, partial, shade)? Most of the ones I've been studying require filtered sun, but since I am using them as part of my privacy hedge, some will be getting full sun, some filetered and some shade. Any thoughts? Also, how should I arrange the hedge: one gardenia, one camellia, one gardenia, one cammellia, etc? Thanks for your help and patience.


Answer: It's true that camellias prefer shade from the hottest summer sunshine, but there are many, many old camellias happily growing in landscapes exposed to full sunshine. I suspect this is because the canopy is large enough to cast shade on the newer, more susceptible to sunburn leaves. Of those that tolerate the most sun, you can choose from Camellia japonica 'Covina' with medium rose-red blooms, 'Kramer's Supreme' with deep, clear red flowers, and 'Donation' with orchid pink blooms. 'Donation' is a hybrid (a cross between Camellia japonica and Camellia saluenensis) and is well-suited to full sunshine. All of the above will grow in full to part shade, as well. As for arrangement, I prefer the look of a grouping of plants rather than a single specimen. If I were planting a hedge, I'd plant 3 or 5 of one (odd numbers work well in landscaping situations), then plant either 3 or 5 of the other. As an example, plant 3 camellias, 5 gardenias, 3 camellias, then reverse the order and plant 3 gardenias, 5 camellias, 3 gardenias. This will provide visual interest in grouping, leaf color and shape, and bloom color. Good luck with your landscaping project!

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