CAMELLIA japonica 'Rosea Plena'
Plant Common Name
Camellia, Japanese Camellia, Rosea Plena Camellia
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In late winter to early spring, the Rosea Plena camellia produces dahlia-like, reddish-pink flowers. This Japanese camellia cultivar originated from an old plant at Magnolia Gardens at Johns Island, South Carolina. It's unknown if the plant was imported and once had a label or is a random seedling. Each formal double (numerous extra petal rows) blossom is rosy pink with variable blushing to rich reddish rose. A withering, old flower drops off entirely from the branches. This broadleaf evergreen shrub develops a compact, but bushy, upright oval silhouette.
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, toothed, green leaves. The waxy flowers of 'Rosea Plena' are excellent for cutting from late winter to early spring.
The Misty Morn 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 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.
Another historical cultivar with the name 'Rosea Plena' has known lineage to France in 1829. This French selection has bronze-green new leaves and flowers that typically occur in clusters of two to three on the branches. These two features help distinguish it from the 'Rosea Plena' traced back to Magnolia Gardens in South Carolina.