Victory White CamelliaCamellia japonica 'Victory White'
View more from Camellias
30 day - ARRIVE AND THRIVE™ guaranteeLearn more
Camellia japonica 'Victory White'
Outdoor Growing zone
Partial Sun, Shade
The Victory White Camellia is a very rare but absolutely gorgeous variety, with very large pure-white blossoms that are flat and formal around the outside, becoming more fluted in the center, surrounding a golden heart. This vigorous bush will reach 10 feet or more in height, with a broad spread and upright growth. Plant it in semi-shade, among the plants around your home, perhaps in a corner, or between windows. Grow it out in beds or on the lawn, where it can be trimmed up with a short trunk. Plant it at the edge of wooded areas. The foliage is beautiful, making a lovely shrub even during the months when it doesn’t bloom.
Plant your Victory White Camellia in partial shade, with morning sun and afternoon shade, or in dappled shade beneath deciduous trees. Grow it in soil that is moist, well-drained, rich and acidic, with a pH value of 6.5 or less. If you don’t have suitable soil it will grow well in a pot, using soil for acid-loving plants, and this is also a good way to grow it in colder zones, bringing it inside to a cool, well-lit place for the coldest months.
When it comes to camellias, there are many form taken by the blossoms. Some are neat and geometrically perfect, while others are flamboyantly ruffled and flared. The Victory White Camellia walks the line between these, with a neat outer circle of pure-white petals and a center that becomes more ruffled, holding a heart of golden stamens. The very large blooms are incredibly beautiful, and simply scream, “Love me!” Yet this remarkable variety is relatively rare, and although it was created almost a century ago, we had trouble finding it. But we did, and we have a few precious plants available, of a camellia that is amazingly beautiful and yet seems to have ‘slipped through the cracks’. This vigorous bush blooms in the middle of winter, and grows into an upright evergreen up to 10 feet tall. Give it plenty of room, because when it is in bloom you will just want to stand back and admire it.
The Victory White Camellia is a vigorous evergreen bush that grows into an upright shrub reaching 10 feet, or even more in time. It will be about 6 feet wide. The leaves are leathery and 3 to 4 inches long, with small serrations along the edges and a pointed tip. They are a rich dark-green color all year round, with an elegant twist to the leaves, and even out of bloom this is a wonderful evergreen to give structure and form to your garden. You will see the flower buds developing through the fall and winter, gradually increasing in size and then, starting in the middle of winter, they will open. The pure-white blooms are large, 4 to 5 inches across, and each one is a full, spread out circle of about 35 broad, overlapping petals. The outer petals are rounded, and the inner ones gradually become more fluted and twisted. As the flower matures it opens to reveal a glowing heart of golden stamens. This bush blooms profusely, and mature plants carry hundreds of flowers in a season. The blooms open in succession over several weeks, with each blossom lasting about 7 days, before dropping neatly to the ground.
This superb shrub is ideal for planting among evergreens around your home, to fill corners or the spaces between windows. Plant at least 4 feet away from a wall. Use it in the background of shrub beds, with later-blooming plants in front. Grow it on a lawn as a specimen, or in a large tub or planter box. It can be turned into a stunning hedge or screen by planting in a row, spacing plants 3 feet apart.
The Victory White Camellia will grow well in all zones from 7 to 10.
The Victory White Camellia grows best in partial sun, with some morning direct sun and shade in the afternoon. Dappled shade beneath deciduous trees, or against an east or north-facing wall are also good options, if there is clear sky overhead. The soil should be moist but well-drained, and rich with organic material. Make sure you use lime-free materials when preparing the planting area. The soil should be acidic, with a pH value of 6.5 or less. If you don’t have suitable soil, grow this bush in a large pot, using soil blended for acid-loving plants. This is also ideal if you live in a colder area and can bring your plant indoors for the winter.
Pests and diseases are rare with the Victory White Camellia, which is a vigorous bush that is largely trouble-free. Pruning is not needed, but if you do want to trim it, do this immediately after flowering has ended. Don’t trim branches in summer, as this will reduce flowering. Feed potted trees through spring and early summer with liquid fertilizer for acid-loving plants. Mulch outdoor plants in spring with lime-free compost or peat moss. Potted trees can be brought into a cool, bright place once night temperatures are regularly under 40 degrees. They will often bloom indoors. Don’t keep them in a hot room, but somewhere that is cool but frost-free. Place your plant back outside once the danger of frost has passed.
The Japanese camellia, Camellia japonica, has been grown in Japanese and Chinese gardens for so long that the first plants to arrive in Europe and America were garden plants from nurseries, not wild plants at all. These flowers, miraculously blooming in winter, caused an enormous rush of interest, both in the South and in Europe, where they were popular among the ‘rich and famous’. By the 20th century growing camellias had become a popular hobby, with new varieties developed by both nurseries and private growers. Japan was often the source for new material, and Japanese-Americans ran nurseries in America.
Kosaku Sawada came to America in 1910, after studying horticulture in Osaka. In 1914 he established a nursery in Crichton, Alabama, with a view over Mobile, that he named ‘Overlook Nurseries’. When his bride arrived two years later from Japan her dowry was a box of 500 camellia seeds. In the end it wasn’t those seeds, but later batches from two of Japan’s best gardens, sent by his brother, that proved the most valuable. From a sowing in 1931 he found several valuable plants, including one that first flowered in 1938. When Kosaku first saw the pure white blooms he knew he had won, so he called it ‘Victory White’.
There is nothing like having a piece of history in your garden, and the rich history of the camellia in America, and the unique background of this particular bush, is certainly worth having. You will love the Victory White Camellia in your garden, but order soon, as heirloom plants like this are always in enormous demand, but in limited supply.