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November Blooms in my Georgia Garden: Sasanqua Camellia

Right in the middle of the Fall harvest season not much thought is given to flowers. This is the time when our homes and front porches are decorated with hay bales, pumpkins, and scarecrows.  Fall or Autumn is my favorite season for many reasons, and I love decorating with the usual harvest items like pumpkins and gourds. But I still want to see flowers in my garden.

Sasanqua Camellias give me just that. Available in many bloom colors, Sasanquas bloom reliably in the Fall every year. 

I’ll never forget the first time I saw a Camellia in bloom. I was young, and I was new at gardening. I was driving through a residential area when I noticed a large, bushy, green shrub with large red blooms that looked like roses. Believe it or not, it took me a while to find out what it was! You’re probably laughing at me now, but thank goodness I’ve learned a few things about camellias since then. 

It wasn’t until attending the Master Gardener Course that I learned of the Sasanqua Camellia. Sasanquas are early bloomers, usually blooming October – December, so there is less chance of frost damaging the blooms. The fall blooming Sasanquas make great holiday decorations and gifts. Sasanqua camellias seem to be faster growing and are often larger growing than Japonica. Dwarf Sasanquas are available too--great for small gardens or even containers. Some varieties bloom so profusely that the blooms hide the foliage! 

Sasanqua Camellias prefer a sheltered site away from drying winter winds. The blooms are more delicate than those of Japonica Camellias. Bright, filtered shade beneath tall trees is ideal. Moist, well-drained soil is best, but camellias are drought tolerant once established. 

Although our garden has received no rain in over 8 weeks and Troup County is under a severe drought , the Sasanquas are beginning to bloom anyway. 

Remember that deer will eat the blooms on all camellias, so consider using a deer deterrent around them. Your local Humane Society or Animal Shelter has plenty of inexpensive deer-deterrent—the all-natural kind. Just ask the attendant which dogs are frisky enough for deer control! 

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