Hana Jiman CamelliaCamellia sasanqua ‘Hanajiman’
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Camellia sasanqua ‘Hanajiman’
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Hana Jiman Camellia is a sasanqua camellia, blooming in fall and early winter. You can extend your camellia season with this gorgeous evergreen bush, which has abundant, very large flowers for months. The blooms are open bowls of broad petals with a yellow center, and the petals are the softest pink, suffused with darker tones that become deep and vibrant around the outer edges of the petals. It can grow 12 feet tall and wide, making an arching bush, and its open form is ideal for training on walls, fences and trellis panels.
The Hana Jiman Camellia will grow from zone 7 to zone 10, in full sun to light full shade. In most places morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal. The soil should be acidic, with a pH below 6.5 or lower, and a combination of good drainage and moist, rich soil is best. It can also be grown in a large tub, using potting soil blended for acid-loving plants. Pests or diseases are rare, and it doesn’t need pruning.
Japanese culture is not boastful, but modest. So, when a plant is called A Flower to Boast Of, it must be truly outstanding to deserve such a bold claim. The Hana Jiman Camellia is that bush, and to see it once it to understand why it has caused such boasting ever since its discovery over 100 years ago. There are two kinds of camellias grown in Japan. One is the Japanese camellia, which is usually upright and bushy, flowering from mid-winter and spring. The other is the sasanqua camellia, which has a more open, spreading growth, and flowers towards the end of the year. The Hana Jiman camellia is of that kind, so it blooms in fall and the first half of the winter. You too will be boasting about those blooms, because they are simply gorgeous. Big bowls of petals surround a center of yellow stamens, and those petals are flushed pink – the palest possible shade in the center, spreading out in darker tones, until the edges are deep pink. The coloring shifts subtly as the flowers develop and age, creating blooms that draw you in to contemplate their beauty – a flower to boast about indeed.
The Hana Jiman Camellia is an evergreen bush with a loose, open form, growing steadily into a plant that can be 12 feet tall and wide in time. The bark on the stems is smooth gray-brown and with the open structure the pattern of the arching branches is a noticeable feature. The leaves are between 2 and 3 inches long, broad ovals, with a leathery texture, a broad pointed tip and fine, soft serrations along the edges. They are a rich, dark green, holding that color all year round.
Flowering usually begins in September or October, and since camellias flower over a long period, it can still be blooming in late November and even to the end of the year. Each bloom is a symphony in subtlety and truly deserves its Japanese name. The flowers are large, almost 4 inches across, and they spread wide open, with 12 to 15 broad petals. These form a shallow bowl, with a cluster of golden-yellow stamens in the center. The buds are pink, opening to petals of very pale pink, with darker pink backs. They are suffused with varying shades of pink, lighter in the center and darker around the edges, making each flower subtly different, but every one wonderful.
Sasanqua camellias have different uses in the garden to the classic Japanese camellia. Their more open form makes them more casual and spreading, fitting well into informal styles of gardening and into wild and woodland gardens. As well, they are wonderful grown up against walls, fences or trellis, because the branches can be spread out to cover a large area without taking up much space in front at all. They are ideal for smaller gardens because of this, leaving plenty of room for other plants, and bringing tons of color to your fall garden. Once you grow one you will, like us, wonder why they are not grown so much more.
The Hana Jiman Camellia grows in zone 7, where it should have a sheltered spot, and easily in all warmer zones, including zone 10.
More tolerant of sun that Japanese camellias, the Hana Jiman Camellia will grow in full sun, especially in zones 7 and 8, as long as the soil isn’t dry. Now you can grow a camellia in sunnier places where you thought you couldn’t. It grows in partial shade, with some shade in the afternoons, in warmer zones, and is happy anywhere is those conditions. It will also grow in very light dappled shade, or against a bright north wall. The soil should be rich, moist and well-drained, with a pH below 6.5, and preferably below 6.0. If you don’t have suitable soil, grow it in a large pot or tub, where it will thrive for many years.
Keeping the roots cool and moist, especially in more sunny spots, is important. Do this by mulching over the roots with lime-free organic materials, and watering regularly. Fertilizer in spring and early summer, especially when growing in a pot, and water regularly. Use potting soil for acid-loving plants when growing in a planter. Add lime-free organic materials like peat-moss and rotted leaves to the soil when planting directly in the garden. When growing on a wall or fence, tie in branches at any time as they develop, while they are young and flexible.
The sasanqua camellia, Camellia sasanqua, grows wild on mountains in China and Japan. It arrived in Europe and America half a century later than the Japanese camellia, Camellia japonica, which arrived before 1800. This could be why it didn’t receive the attention it deserves. This is a plant, though, where old is good, because these are the classic Japanese forms, developed over centuries. The variety we call ‘Hanajiman’ was originally named ‘Hana-Imon’ in Japan, which literally means ‘the only one’. This is usually taken to mean a wonderful thing worth boasting about. In Chinese it is called ‘Huaziman’. It began around 1905 as a seedling of an old, classic variety called ‘Eikyû-shibori’, and it was discovered by Sôjiro Saitô at Minagawa Chinka’en Nursery, in Saitama Prefecture, part of the city of Tokyo, in Japan. It probably didn’t arrive in America until the 1940s or 50s. Since then it has universally praised as one of the most outstanding of the sasanqua camellias.
If you have never grown a sasanqua camellia, now is the time, and the Hana Jiman Camellia is the one. You will enjoy camellia blooms all through fall, and if you grow Japanese camellias as well, you can have 6 months of these marvelous blooms in your garden. Don’t hesitate to place your order, because our stock of this special variety is very limited, and they will soon all be gone.