Camellia sasanqua “Sesugekka” – Autumn-Flowering Camellia
Large white single to semi-double flowers with ruffled petals and a mass of golden stamens.
This is a dense, evergreen, upright, large shrub with a semi-weeping habit, with arching and cascading branches, growing to 4M tall. This is faster growing than the traditionally popular C. japonica varieties, and makes a good hedge. The flowers do not suffer from the Camellia petal wilt (Ciborinia camelliae) that turns the later flowering C. japonica flowers to a brown mush in New Zealand.
C. sasanqua comes from China and Japan, where varieties have been grown for hundreds of years. The original plants would have grown on hillsides, on the edges of woodland, roadsides, streams and clearings, rather than in deep shade. The word Setsugekka is composed of three Kanji characters, which literally mean snow, moon and flowers.
Soil / Aspect:
C. setsugekka prefers part-sun to full sun, being best if it is not baked by full midday sun. The soil needs to be acidic. Though not as hardy as C. japonica this one is perfectly fine in Karin’s Garden
C. sasanqua should be pruned after flowering, to control size and shape. The general advice is to mulch in spring. However, as a hedge their dropped leaves tend to provide their own mulch and as a specimen plant they will generally be under-planted. The plant pictured here has not been mulched and seems to do just fine.