On Gardening

Hana Jiman one knockout camellia

McClatchy-Tribune News ServiceNovember 2, 2012 

LIFE HOME-ONGARDENING MCT

The Hana Jiman Camellia sasanqua produces spectacular blossoms during October and November.

HANDOUT — MCT

Fall can be an incredible season of blooming shrubs if you do a little planning. Right now, the Hana Jiman camellia’s blossoms will stop you in your tracks. A variety of Camellia sasanqua, it blooms heavily in October and November. The blossoms are large, semi-double and white with a deep blush of rose pink spreading from the margins inward.

Camellias may bring to mind the spectacularly beautiful Camellia japonica and the Camellia reticulate, but Hana Jiman proves the Camellia sasanqua offers a lot for the landscape and deserves more widespread use – and this could be said for camellias in general.

Horticulturists and landscape designers promote the idea of planting evergreen shrubs as the bones of the landscape, and rightfully so. A camellia like Hana Jiman has everything you want in foliage, with striking, dark green, glossy leaves that feel like polished leather. The shrubs reach around 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide. They also have thousands of buds that open over time. Hana Jiman is more sun-tolerant than the Camellia japonica. It is recommended for zones 7-10 and is cold-hardy to zero. Like all other camellias, they require acid soil, but sasanquas tolerate greater extremes in moisture than most japonicas.

Shrubs like the camellia create a backdrop in the landscape, lead us toward a path or contrast the color of the perennial border or drift of annuals.

Though top growth may have ceased, roots will continue to develop during the cooler 40- to 50-degree days. When new growth resumes in the spring, the root system will already be established and able to supply the plant’s requirements. Planting now will give your plants almost a full growing season’s advantage over those planted next spring.

Gardeners should try to put all shrubs in a bed to maintain their investment in landscaping. It is so sad to see a fine camellia surrounded by turf.

There are a couple of other great reasons to shop and plant now. Garden centers have fresh stock and most have certified staff available to assist you in a season that is much less stressed and rushed than spring. If they have Hana Jiman Camellia sasanquas, you’ll soon be the envy of the neighborhood.

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