CAMELLIA sasanqua 'Dwarf Shishi'
Plant Common Name
Camellia, Dwarf Shishi Sasanqua, Sasanqua
The diminutive sasanqua cultivar 'Dwarf Shishi' bears quantities of small, semi-double, bright rose-pink blooms from mid-autumn into winter. A seedling of 'Shishigashira', it was introduced by Toichi Domoto Nursery of Hayward, California. This cultivar is one of many selections and hybrids of Camellia sasanqua, a southern Japanese native that has been cultivated for centuries.
Relatively petite in all its parts, this slow-growing, evergreen shrub has leathery, oval, glossy-green leaves with toothed edges. The many-petaled blooms have golden stamens at their centers. The plants are long-blooming, and though the flowers are small they are numerous. It is not uncommon to see plants covered in flowers with many buds yet to open.
Less well known than the common Japanese camellia, Camellia sasanqua does not get as much attention as the more popular larger-flowered Japanese camellia, but it should. The Asian sasanquas have a long history of use for tea, oil and ornament.
Sasanquas prefer partial shade, but will do well in sun in areas with mild summers. The soil should be moist, acidic and have ample drainage. Sasanquas are notoriously slow-growing, slow to establish and shallow rooted. A thick layer of organic mulch is a good practice to protect the roots. Regular irrigation when dry and applications of fertilizer promote good growth and flowering. Prune lightly (if necessary) in late winter or early spring, before new flower buds form. Sasanquas do not recover well from harsh pruning.
Cold-sensitive, but somewhat hardier than common camellias, sasanquas are for locations where temperatures don’t stay well below freezing for any length of time. Use Camellia sasanqua ‘Dwarf Shishi' in containers, mixed borders, foundation plantings, and cool sunrooms and greenhouses.