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CAMELLIA sasanqua 'Dwarf Shishi'

Image of Camellia sasanqua 'Dwarf Shishi'

James Burghardt

Family

Theaceae

Botanical Name

CAMELLIA sasanqua 'Dwarf Shishi'

Plant Common Name

Camellia, Dwarf Shishi Sasanqua, Sasanqua

General Description

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.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Broadleaf Evergreen

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    1'-2' / 0.3m - 0.6m

  • Width

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Bloom Time

    Fall, Late Fall, Early Winter

  • Native To

    Japan

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Very Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Spreading

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Pink, Rose

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Tan, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Semi-Double

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Container, Foundation, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No