Camellia 'Winter's Star'
Common Name: camellia 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Theaceae
Zone: 7 to 9
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 5.00 to 7.00 feet
Bloom Time: October to November
Bloom Description: Violet-pink
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 6b-9 where this evergreen shrub is typically grown in moist, acidic, organically rich, well-drained soils with consistent moisture in part shade locations. Established plants do well with moderate but even moisture. Plants appreciate protection from early morning sun and from direct hot summer afternoon sun. They often thrive in sun-dappled part shade conditions under the protection of tree canopies. Protection from strong winds is also important. Apply a root mulch (leaves or shredded bark). Prune after flowering. Prune to thin branching and to control size and shape. Plants may be effectively grown in tubs or other large containers. This plant is not reliably winter hardy to the St. Louis area (USDA Zone 6a-5b). However, with protection and mild winter weather (temperatures that do not dip below zero degrees F), this camellia may survive winters outdoors in St. Louis. If attempted in St. Louis, this shrub should be grown in a sheltered and protected microclimate such as shaded areas near the south side of a home or building. Where not winter hardy, smaller containers may be overwintered indoors in a greenhouse or the bright cool conditions of a sunroom, with slightly reduced watering. Most camellias are purchased in pots. When transplanting into the garden, it is important to not plant them too deep (soil level in pot should be the same as the soil level in the ground).

Noteworthy Characteristics

Camellia is a genus of over 250 species of evergreen shrubs and small trees from North India to China and Japan south to Northern Indonesia, Java and Sumatra. Where winter-hardy they are beloved late winter to early spring flowers with elegant flowers and glossy, evergreen foliage.

Genus name honors Georg Joseph Camel (1661-1706), a German Jesuit missionary to the Philippines who was noted for his work on Oriental plants.

'Winter's Star' is an upright evergreen camellia that typically grows to 4-6' tall with a slightly larger spread. It was released into commerce in 1991 by the U.S. National Arboretum. Parents are Camellia oleifera x Camellia hiemalis 'Showa-no-sakae'. It is grown ornamentally for its leathery, slightly glossy, dark green foliage and its showy autumn flowers. Each six-petaled, violet-pink flower (to 3-4" across) has a center boss of bushy yellow stamens. Flowers bloom in fall (October-November). Ackerman 1988.

Problems

Camellias are susceptible to a number of viruses and fungal diseases including leaf spots, anthracnose, black mold, petal blight, canker and root rot. If petal blight occurs (browning that runs from edges to the center), all infected plant parts should be promptly removed. Yellow leaves with green veins may indicate chlorosis which can be treated by adding iron/iron chelates to the soil. Scale can be a troublesome insect pest. Watch for aphids, planthoppers and spider mites.

Uses

In St. Louis, best planted in protected locations around homes, foundations and patios or in containers that can be overwintered indoors in greenhouses or cool but bright sunrooms. Outdoors, it is an excellent evergreen shrub (specimen or in small groups) for woodland gardens, shrub borders, backgrounds, lawns and around homes. May be trimmed as a hedge.