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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
Camellia sinensis 'Variegata'
VARIEGATED TEA TREE
syn. C. thea
Pronounced: ka-MEEL-ee-a sih-NEN-sis
Sunset zones: 4-9, 12, 14-24.
USDA zones: 6-9.
Height: 4 feet (1.2 m).
Width: 4 feet (1.2 m).
Single, fragrant, 1½ inch wide, white flowers.
Splashes of yellow on deep green leaves.
Fertile, humus rich, moist, 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 meal for the nitrogen in your organic fertilizer mix. Do not over fertilize.
Root leaf buds or semi-ripe cuttings from midsummer 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
A variegated tea tree gives new meaning to reading tea leaves. I predict if you bring this beautiful shrub into your garden, you will be pleased with its prominent foliage presence all year round. In late autumn, the small white flowers offer a delicate fragrance. The leaves will light up any bright shady area you place the shrub.
As with others in this genus, plant your camellias even with soil level. Be careful with mulch and compost; don't pile it up against the trunk. Make sure you plant this in a well-drained area, as soggy soil could mean the demise of your shrub.