Sunday, October 23, 2011

The New ‘Whizz-Bang’ Camellia from Monrovia!

Pink Yuletide - everything you could wish for in a Camellia - and more.
Photo courtesy of Monrovia

Those are the words of Nicholas Staddon, director of new plants at Monrovia, the world’s leading plant grower and a name we all associate with quality. I smiled politely when I heard his words – he is a fellow Brit after all so I can excuse his eccentricities and excitability. It did pique my curiosity, however, and I have to admit I now agree with him!

Winter blooming camellias (Camellia sasanqua cultivars) offer us color in the darkest months of the year with 'Yuletide' being the most popular variety, boasting bright red flowers and a huge boss of yellow stamens just in time for the holidays. Deep green, glossy leaves set off the festive display.

But just when you thought you had seen the best, Pink Yuletide comes along. As its name suggests, it also blooms around Christmas and has equally beautiful flowers, but this time in a clear pink. Here’s the big difference though –  it is one of the very few fragrant camellias!  It promises to be a real winner, growing 8-10’ tall and wide which makes it suitable for training as an espalier against a wall or trellis or leaving to grow as a large rounded bush. Should you prefer to keep it shorter simply  prune when it has finished blooming. I am using one in a winter container garden design, tucking euonymus 'Emerald gaiety' (Euonymus fortunei) underneath for an additional splash of color. This pretty green and white variegated shrub blushes rosy shades of pink when the temperatures drop, which will create a pretty color echo.

'Emerald gaiety' euonymus blushes prettily in winter
Photo credit; 

This healthy shrub is hardy in zones 7-10 and like all camellias needs fertile, acidic soil in partial sun although the winter blooming camellias can take a little more sunshine than the spring blooming species (Camellia japonica). 

What are you waiting for? Dash out to your local nursery NOW – this has just been distributed nationwide but as soon as word gets out there will doubtless be a rush!

If I haven’t convinced you yet, watch this short video clip about Monrovia’s new camellias and meet Nicholas himself. 

And yes he really does call it a ‘whizz-bang’ plant….


  1. A fragrant camellia! That is convincing! And I can see that the euonymous 'Emerald Gaiety' would be a great companion.

  2. I know, I can't wait to see - and smell it in bloom. I do containers for a lovely client whose colors are pink, silver and white with as much fragrance as possible, so I was really excited to be able to offer her this combination.


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