Tiny Fairy-Wand Camellias17 June 2016 Linda Ross
Simply adorable and often flouted for their flamboyant cousins, we think miniature flowering camellias should be planted much more often.
Masses of dainty blossoms ring each weeping branch, sparkling like diamonds on a cold winter’s day.
Top line, left to right: ‘Tama no Ura’, ‘Fairy Wand’, ‘Koto no Kaori’, ‘Bogong Snow’, and ‘Baby Bear’
Bottom line: ‘Our Melissa’, ‘Tinsie’, ‘Baby Bear’ ‘Hakuhan-kujaku’ (common name is ‘Peacock’), and ‘Wirlinga Bride’
Give yourself a treasure to look forward to every winter. Perfect for cottage gardens or a woodland setting, their petals will carpet the ground in pastel toned circles when they fall. Plant one as a soft informal hedge between neighbours, or to block a driveway, road or an ugly view. Use to enclose your garden even more and to bring the scale down to make your garden feel more personal.
Quite different to their heavier cousins, their shrubby habit is more open and arching where each willowy stem filled with clusters of miniature blossoms,
a bit like cherry blossom! Shrubs can reach up to 4 metres high but can be lowered if necessary. We like growing them with other winter favourites:
daphne, hellebores, snowdrops, wood violets and plectranthus.
Most prefer the company of larger trees to dapple the light around them. Morning sun and rich improved soil with pH 5.5-6.5. Mulch well as root system
Miniature camellias are part of the wider camellia family
No need to disbud these camellias as the more flowers the better. They like plenty moisture during the growing seasons of spring and summer but hate sodden soil, which can rot their roots, so they must have good drainage. We like to use a specialised camellia food like Kahoona (from Neutrog) applied in early spring and again in summer. A water-soluble fertiliser is can also be given every month or couple of months from early spring until early autumn. They do need regular watering in their early years; once established they become fairly tough. They do like some extra moisture at flowering time. A shallow mulch of compost or cow manure applied in early spring will protect the roots from summer heat, as well as slowing evaporation of water from the soil and providing humus and some nutrients.
If you want to move an existing camellia to a different position, it’s best to do this in June – July. Prune straight before the move by one-third and keep the plant moist. Applications of seaweed solution will help the plant cope.
Our Melissa has deep pink buds open to reveal blush pink double flowers. Willowy stems, romantic in the breeze. Suitable for a large tub as well as in the garden. A fast grower.
Tama No Ura
Tama-no-ura has single, oriental deep-red flowers trimmed in snow white, fast grower with slender pendulous branches.
Bogong Snow has snow covered flowers profusely encrusting every branch. Informal double means each flower has more petals. Quite similar to Wirlinga Bride with a sparkle of stamens in the centre.
Fairy Wand has deep dusty pink flowers, enjoys winter morning sun and also happy in a tub. Semi double arrangement is perfection.
Minato-no-akebonmo We considered this to be the best fragrant variety, with masses of flower, for an brilliant 4m high hedge. Camellia hybrid is a seedling of C. lutchuensis x C. japonica 'Kantô-tsukimiguruma'. It originated in Yokohama City, Japan and was released by Masaomi Murata in 1981. Small single blooms are mid pink have a touch of mauve, fading towards white at the centre, a short stamen cluster, with white filaments and bronze anthers. This fragrant variety flowers profusely. Upright loose growth. Early to midseason. Available from Camellia Grove Nursery where GC members get a 10% discount.
Minato no Akebonmo
If you join the Garden Clinic this weekend you will receive two beautiful miniature camellias from our dear friends at Camellia Grove Nursery, which opened in 1939 in what was then the remote Sydney suburb of St Ives. These days Camellia Grove Nursery is located at 8 Cattai Ridge Road Glenorie, in Sydney's north-west, and is still the best place to buy and learn more about camellias.