Now they are finally starting to bloom: the autumn-blooming camellias (Camellia sasanqua) and their relatives.
Unfortunately, this species is not yet very well known in Germany and so I am pleased that Ilse Höger reports in detail about the sasanquas in the October 10/2021 issue of the magazine "Gartenpraxis", even if I agree with her assessment that the Ackerman hybrids are too Count, not share, the hardiest camellias.
The autumn-blooming camellias are an enrichment for the garden in many ways: they bring color into the rather dreary season, offer bees, bumblebees and other insects a valuable source of food thanks to the high pollen and nectar content of their flowers, and exude a bitter, almost earthy scent and, as evergreen plants, are a beautiful eye-catcher all year round with their attractive, dark green and highly glossy foliage. As a shrub or small tree, they can reach a height of up to 7 meters in our latitudes.
There are three flowering times for autumn-flowering camellias: early flowering begins at the end of September, middle flowering in October and late flowering from the end of November. The flowering period lasts two to three months, so you can still enjoy the lushly blooming bushes even in February. And after blooming, the individually falling petals form a magical carpet of flowers.
Danger threatens at frosty temperatures from -6 degrees Celsius: here the flowers that have already opened turn brown, while the closed buds survive single-digit temperatures very well. The petals of "Yuletide" are the exception: due to their waxy structure, they show no damage even when opened at temperatures as low as -5 degrees Celsius.
In contrast to their winter-flowering cousins (Camellia japonica), the autumn-flowering camellias require a sunnier location in order to produce a lush set of flowers. A southwest location is ideal, although it should be protected from the hot midday sun. To save space, I planted sasanquas on the south side of my garden; The root area is shaded and regular watering means they feel comfortable there too.
The autumn-flowering camellias have very good winter hardiness, but like the japonicas, they require good winter protection in the form of a 20 cm thick layer of mulch in the root area and must not dry out even in winter.
Thanks to their sprawling growth and slightly curved branches, the autumn-flowering camellias are ideal as hedge plants. But they also cut a fine figure in the garden as a solitary plant. Try it.