JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University
CAMELLIA japonica 'Dr J.C. Raulston'
Plant Common Name
Camellia, Dr. J.C. Raulston Camellia, Japanese Camellia
With flowers that look like red ruffled anemone blossoms, 'Dr. J.C. Raulston' is an especially pretty Japanese camellia for the garden. This cultivar originated as seedling nurtured at the Bond Nursery Corporation of Dallas, Texas, and was named for famed American horticulturist, J.C. Raulston. Each large, semi-double bloom has ruffled bright red to slightly red-orange petals and short petaloids. This broadleaf evergreen shrub develops an upright, dense, oval habit when mature.
Treasured in eastern Asia for centuries, camellias were brought to the western world by Jesuit missionary and botanist Georg Joseph Kamel, for whom they are named. Their attractive smooth gray branches hold oval, glossy, dark green leaves with toothed edges. From late winter to early spring, this cultivar bears large, waxy flowers that are excellent for cutting.
Common camellia grows best in partial sun to partial shade but will tolerate full sun once established, though sunscald may be a problem. The soil must be evenly moist, acid and well-drained. This plant is notoriously slow-growing, slow to establish and shallow rooted. A thick layer of organic mulch will protect the roots and facilitate better growth. Regular irrigation and applications of fertilizer promote good growth and flowering, though plants will tolerate periods of drought.
The evergreen leaves and tender flower buds may suffer from sunscald and wind desiccation in winter, so avoid planting camellia in windy, exposed areas. If needed, prune branch tips immediately after flowering, just before new growth starts in the spring. Selective, infrequent light pruning and shaping is recommended but shearing is not. This camellia does not recover well from harsh pruning practices. In the landscape, it may be used in hedges, shady foundation beds, mixed borders or as a woodland specimen plant.