Grow Christmas Camellias
‘Yuletide’ is the classic sasanqua camellia that lights up gardens with holiday-red blooms now. But it’s just one of the winter-blooming sasanquas (Camellia sasanqua) ideal for water-wise landscapes here. Here are some others recommended by Master Gardener Sharon Lee, a member of the San Diego Camellia Society: sun-loving ‘Hana Jiman’ with paper-thin white petals edged in pink on large single blossoms; fast-growing ‘Dazzler’ with cerise-red semi-double blooms; earliest-flowering ‘Bonanza’ with cherry red peony-form blossoms centered with golden stamens; compact ‘Shishi-Gashira’ with double bright rose red flowers; and willowy ‘Showa-no-Sakae’ with soft clear pink blossoms in loose peony form. The first two grow upright to more than 6 feet tall; the others are low growing. Plant them in winter since camellias are dormant when they bloom. Look for them at specialty nurseries or order from world-renowned growers Nuccio’s Nurseries in Altadena (www.nucciosnureries.com).