Camellia x 'Winter's Joy'
Sunset zones: 4-9, 12, 14-24.
USDA zones: 7-8.
Heat zones: 8-7.
Height: 4 - 6 feet (1.5 - 2 m).
Width: 4 feet (1.5 m).
October to January; some years it will flower until February.
Large, semi-double, ruffled, pink flowers.
Shiny, evergreen, 1½ to 3½ inches long, dark green leaves.
Fertile, humus rich, moist, acidic, well-drained soil. Older, established plants are drought tolerant.
An acidic plant fertilizer is usually recommended; however, our soil in the maritime Pacific Northwest is normally acidic enough already. A soil test is recommended to determine if you need to adjust the ph level. Side-dress shrubs with compost and a complete organic fertilizer in spring and fertilize again in summer. If soil is not acidic enough, use a cottonseed for the nitrogen in your organic fertilizer mix. Do not over fertilize.
Root leaf buds or semi-ripe cuttings from mid summer to late winter.
This shrub needs little to no pruning; however, it takes well to pruning attention. In early spring take out dead wood; thin and/or remove crossing or rubbing branches. You can do radical pruning on these shrubs; however, it may take a few years before the bush will look good again and bloom.
Pests and Diseases:
No serious pests or diseases.
Rainy Side Notes
'Winter's Joy is one of many camellias bred by Dr. Ackerman using old hardy selections of C. oleifera with C. sasanqua or C. hiemalis. The plants withstand temperatures down below -10° F with no damage, so perfectly hardy in our climate.
Unlike the C. japonica species and cultivars which hang on to its unsightly brown, mushy flowers that spoil its beauty, this camellia's petals neatly fall from the shrub. This cultivar has an upright, columner habit which can be espaliered, grown as a standard, or kept trimmed as an informal hedge.
Camellias make great hedging material. Allow them room to grow to their full potential and you won't have to prune them annually to keep them in bounds. The added bonus is they aren't invasive, they don't suck everything out of the soil, and the deep green makes a great backdrop for other plants and flowers. In winter the additional bonus of flowers and we have a winner! Why would anyone plant a laurel hedge, when a camellia is far more outstanding!
It's important to plant camellias even with soil level. Be careful with mulch and compost; don't pile it up against the trunk.