Silver Waves CamelliaCamellia japonica ‘Silver Waves’
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Camellia japonica ‘Silver Waves’
Outdoor Growing zone
The Silver Waves Camellia is the perfect white camellia, with silver-white petals surrounding a center mass of golden stamens. Blooming between October and March, depending on your location, it is richly evergreen all year round, and an outstanding shrub for foundation planting, specimens, the back of shrub beds, or beneath trees. It will grow to around 10 feet tall and 6 or 7 feet wide.
The Silver Waves Camellia should be grown outdoors in zones 8 to 10, because its blooms may be damaged in colder zones. There, grow it in a planter or pot and bring into a cool place during winter for blooming. Grow it in partial shade or light full shade, in acidic soil that is moist, rich and well-drained. Use lime-free potting soil for containers. Normally free of pests or diseases, camellias are easy to grow once you have suitable light and soil.
There is something truly special about white flowers. Perhaps it is the way they glow in the evening light or shine at us out of shady places. Perhaps it is their ethereal beauty, and our long associations between ‘white’ and ‘purity’. Or perhaps it is that they are simply stunningly beautiful, especially when set against a background of glossy, dark-green leaves. That is exactly what you get with the Silver Waves Camellia – enormous glowing 5-inch flowers with a flurry of undulating pristine white petals surrounding a bold center of golden-yellow stamens. A white so pure and clean that it sparkles like silver, and petals that rise and fall like waves on the California shore where its creator lived. Excuse the poetry, but this is truly a remarkable camellia, on a sturdy upright shrub. A camellia you will love for the unrivalled beauty of its white blossoms sparkling through the winter and early spring.
The Silver Waves Camellia is an upright, densely branching evergreen shrub that grows steadily into a medium-sized plant between 6 and 10 feet tall, with a spread up to 7 feet across. It remains green to the ground for years, with a short trunk of smooth gray bark, eventually becoming a little more open and spreading. The 3 or 4-inch leaves are beautiful, and an asset to your garden in every month of the year. They are leathery, glossy, smooth to the touch, and dark green, with a broadly oval form and softly serrated edges.
Depending on your climate flowering can take place anytime between October and March. In the warmest zones, such as in southern California, blooming can begin well before Christmas. In cooler areas it may be delayed until February or March. In all cases this bush stays in bloom for up to 2 months, as buds open consecutively, not all at once. Those fat buds can be seen by late summer, and they open into enormous flowers a full 5 inches across, with a variable number of petals forming a broad open bowl. The petals have undulating margins and they are a pristine glowing white – simply perfect. The center of the bloom is filled with a bold cluster of many golden-yellow stamens which look very effective against the white petals. Individual flowers last a week or more, and they can be plucked to float in a bowl as indoor decoration.
As garden shrubs camellias are unequaled, and this one is no exception. Their perfect foliage and durable ‘greenness’ makes them ideal for high-profile foundation planting, around important areas of your house, such as near doors or beside windows. Plant it by gates and entrances, especially where you might be in winter, when it will be in bloom. Grow it in the background of shrub beds, or to fill the corner of a bed. Grow it in more natural, woodland areas such as beneath deciduous trees, and combine it with rhododendrons and azaleas, who all share the same location preferences.
Because it blooms through the winter months the Silver Waves Camellia is best outdoors grown in warmer zones, from zone 8 to 10. It is of course hardy everywhere when growing in a pot and overwintering indoors in a cool, bright spot.
The Silver Waves Camellia grows best in partial shade – morning sun and afternoon shade are ideal. It also grows well in light full shade, such as against a north-facing wall, or underneath open deciduous trees. The best soil is moist but well-drained, and high in organic content, so some effort put into preparing the planting site will pay dividends in good growth. Use lime-free materials, as this plant needs to be grown in acidic soil, with a pH value of 6.5, or preferably closer to 5.5. If you don’t have suitable soil is it difficult to change it, so grow your plant in a pot instead. Camellias grow well in containers for many years. Use potting soil blended for acid-loving plants, like you might use for azaleas.
Spring mulch is valuable to conserve moisture and to feed your bush. Use a rich organic material, or peat moss. Fertilize plants in pots in spring and early summer, and water regularly. Water established bushes in the garden during dry spells. Pests and diseases are almost never a problem with this plant and pruning or trimming is not normally needed – once you have given it a good location it is very easy to grow well. Keep plants in pots in a cool, bright, frost-free place when outdoor temperatures are below freezing. You will enjoy the beauty of perfect blooms, unmarked by the weather.
The first plants of the Japanese camellia, Camellia japonica, were brought to America before 1800, and it had been grown in Europe even earlier. It grows easily and well in the South, where it is still a favorite flower. Unlike many other plants, most new varieties have been created by the breeding efforts of committed amateur growers, rather than professional plant breeders, and that is true of the variety called ‘Silver Waves’. Willard F. Goertz was born in Minnesota in 1904, but he lived for much of his life in San Gabriel, Los Angeles. He was a keen grower and breeder of camellias for many years, and he introduced several unique varieties. He would create them, and then a camellia specialist – Nuccio’s Nursery, in Altadena, California – would multiply and release them. Known as ‘Bill’ (or for his breeding as ‘F. Goertz’) Willard published the first images of this camellia in 1970. Since then it has become the ’silver standard’ of white camellias.
We love the purity and beauty of this camellia, and how it blooms through the winter months in the garden, or in a pot. White flowers are incredibly popular, and these plants will be gone very soon, so order yours now, while we can still fulfill your desire.