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Northern California Regional Reports

Fragrant Camellias for the Shade | Northern California Regional Report

'Fairy Blush' camellia. Photo: Fionuala Campion

Camellias add color and beauty to the shady Northern California garden from fall to early spring—a time when little else is in bloom. In our area, camellias prefer shelter from the hottest afternoon sun; rich, well-drained, humus rich and slightly acidic soil; and regular moisture. While drip irrigation is excellent for getting water directly to the roots, extra humidity can be provided in the hottest part of our summers with occasional overhead watering. The flowers of these broadleaf evergreens range dramatically in color, form, and size—from petite, single, pastel-hued blossoms all the way through huge, intricate, fully double, deep maroon. The blossoms are intoxicating in their beauty, but the fragrant varieties are particularly alluring. The following are four fragrant camellias worth planting this year.

‘Setsugekka’ camellia. Photo: Fionuala Campion

‘Setsugekka’ camellia (Camellia sasanqua ‘Setsugekka’)

Zones: 7–10

Size: 8 to 10 feet tall and wide

“Soft and earthy” best describes the fragrance…

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