January 30, 2016
One of the joys of our Mississippi winter landscapes are the gorgeous camellias. Growing up in the north I’ve always marveled at these evergreen shrubs blooming like this in the winter months. If you would like my recommendation of a shrub you should have in your landscape, then you need to try Shishi Gashira camellia. Shishi Gashira camellia is an outstanding flowering shrub and was a Mississippi Medallion award winner in 2002 and is still a winner in my book. It is very similar in leaf and flowering to our Sasanqua camellias and is often marketed as such. But in fact this plant is actually a different species, Camellia hiemalis, which is sometimes called dwarf sasanqua and having a mature height of only three feet. The compact and slow growth make Shishi Gashira a perfect choice for smaller landscapes, foundations and walkways, and even containers where a small shrub is needed. From its waxy, leathery leaves to the gorgeous pink flowers makes Shishi Gashira a go-to plant for our Mississippi gardens. Shishi Gashira also has great cold tolerance so it can be grown all across Mississippi. In the late fall and early winter, Shishi Gashira produces seemingly hundreds of semi-double, rose-pink blooms. The cheerful pink flowers open to expose bright yellow stamens, making the flower even more beautiful. Shishi Gashira can tolerate more sun than other camellias but will grow and flower best in partial shade planting beds. Evergreen shrubs like Shishi Gashira provide good structure for our winter landscapes and the beautiful blooms will certainly brighten up any winter day. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.