One of the oldest camellias in cultivation (1797), award-winning Camellia japonica 'Alba Plena' is incredibly beautiful with its medium-sized, formal double flowers, 3-4 in. wide (4-10 cm), with over 100 petals in porcelain white. The elegant flowers are happily produced early in the season (October to January in the northern hemisphere; March to June in the southern hemisphere). Very few camellias are as popular and widely grown as 'Alba Plena'. The flowers contrast beautifully with the evergreen foliage of glossy medium green leaves.
- This evergreen shrub enjoys an upright and bushy habit and grows, at a slow rate, up to 6-8 ft. tall and wide (180-240 cm)
- Winner of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society.
- A part shade to full shade lover, this plant is best grown in consistently moist, acidic, organically rich, well-drained soils. Provide a site sheltered from cold, dry winds as buds and flowers may be damaged by cold winds. Protect from early morning sun and from direct hot summer afternoon sun.
- May be attacked by aphids, scale insects and vine weevil
- Mass in mixed shrub borders for dramatic winter blooms. Great flowering shrub for woodland gardens or as screen and hedge. Perfect as a specimen plant and may be effectively grown in tubs or large containers.
- Apply a root mulch (leaves or shredded bark)
- Prune after flowering. Prune to thin branching and to control size and shape.
Camellia japonica is the pre-eminent species of the genus and counts over 30 000 cultivars in a wide array of flower forms and colors. The blooms can reach 5 in. across (12 cm) and create a gorgeous floral display from late winter to spring. They range in color from pure white to soft pink to dark red and may be single, semi-double, double, formal double or full peony form. Slow grower, this broadleaved, evergreen shrub may grow up to 25 feet (7.5 m), but more often to 6-12 feet (180-360 cm) with a spread of 6-10 feet (180-300 cm). Its shapely habit, handsome, glossy foliage and fabulous flowers have attracted gardeners for hundreds of years in Asia. Long-lived, some Japanese camellias, around the emperor's palace in Japan, are known to be more than 500 years old. Unfortunately, Japanese camellias are not always cold-hardy (USDA Hardiness Zone 7 – 9).