Camellias are my favorite shrub, and I grow 100's of them in my garden, but what has always amazed me is how many gardeners love the camellia variety called 'Pink Perfection'. Everywhere that I go, I hear someone telling me about their grandmother's 'Pink Perfection', and there seems to be many great stories and memories about this old camellia variety.
I would like to hear some stories and memories about 'Pink Perfection' from anyone on the forum.
What a beauty! This is the time of year I get really jealous of people who live in your neck of the woods. The summers might be tough for me, and I am not in a position to move now, but someday...
How big does this camellia get? I would love to get it and grow it in a container. Most plants get to big, even the relative dwarfs, but many can be kept in containers for a long time with some pruning and increasing the size of the container gradually.
Also, do you know a mailorder source for this plant?
July and August are killers for us with the heat, but all of the other months are enjoyable, especially at this time of year when all the camellias are in full bloom.
I have seen plants of 'Pink Perfection' 8 feet tall and 8 feet across, but you would easliy be able to control it's growth in a container with a little pruning each year. If you try growing a plant of it, I would like to hear how it does for you.
What a beautiful picture of your Camellia 'Pink Perfection'! I planted one here in Gainesville, Florida some 20 years ago under an old Hickory tree. It grew very slowly, and when it grew above 8' I trimmed it so that the blossoms could still be visible from the inside of the house. I have found that camellias should be pruned only if necessary, as they grow so slowly, and then only in the early spring before the flush of new growth in order to still have plenty of new growth and thus buds that will set later that same year. I believe 'Pink Perfection' is so popular because 1) it has fully double blooms and 2) because it has one of the longest bloom periods of all the camellias, spanning Early, Mid, and Late blooming periods. A truly exceptional camellia.
As you can see from these photos there is a range of form in the Pink Perfection camellia. There are some here over 15 ft--situated to the north, north-east of 2 story buildings. I don't remember the reference, but from my memory banks some one told me that when P.P. was first imported from Japan it was called "otome", and it was a smaller version of what often sees today. Also, its ideal was to resemble a very formal carving from pink jade.
I remember many years ago, at the historic house where I worked here, a woman commented, "you have a pink perfection that is not perfect!" And that is part of its wonder, in its true form it is perfect, pale pink, and it looks as though it was carved from pink jade.
It truly is one of those flowers you can spend a half hour or so just gazing at its form. And a 15 - 20 ft tree full of them is a wonder to behold.
There are several varieties of camellias that have been originally called 'Otome' in their native Japan. The one that we normally call 'Pink Perfection' in America was originally referred to as 'Usu-Otome' in Japan. In Japan, they used the term "Otome" to describe a number of different small to medium sized pink flowering camellias with flower forms that were formal double. I read that this term "Otome" in Japan meant "Stop", which implied that it was too beautiful to sell or give away.
The variety that is generally called 'Otome' today in America is similar to the one that we call 'Pink Perfection', but has larger foliage, grows faster, and the flowers have cupped petals. I have posted a picture with this message of the variety that is usually called 'Otome' today in America.
So, pretty. I am in zone 6 and have been afraid to try camellias. I do admire them. We visted Savannah a few years ago. I loved all the tall crape myrtles too. Ours dies back to the ground and we don't have the trunks.
Teresa in KY
Cuttings from that plant of 'Otome'should be fairly easy to root. Also, it should easily be propagated by air-layering. Have you ever air-layered any camellias before? If you have not air-layered camellias, you might try it using the instructions found on the American Camellia Society website with the following link: http://www.camellias-acs.org/qanda/growing01.asp You should be able to find info on propogating camellias from cuttings on the same ACS site.
It is a real easy process. I have air-layered limbs 2-3 feet with no problem. If you prepare the air-layer in the spring, it should be rooted and ready to remove in 3-4 months after you intially prepared it. The cool thing is that your new plants have plenty of buds and blooms the first year.
I remember someone said when they were little, all the camellias had little aluminum foil packages on the limbs where their mother was air laying duplicates for friends. I guess today, children will grow up remembering saran wrap rather than aluminum foil.
You are right. Airlayering is such a common practice of camellias growers to share plants with friends. The funny thing is that when I do an air-layer, I put saran wrap on first, and them alluminum foil as a second wrap on the outside.
A friend gave me a pre-designed plastic cup for air-layering last year, but I never got around to trying it. She says that the results are better that with saran wrap or alluminum foil. Maybe, I will try it this year.
Is it too late to add to this thread? I just ordered two "Pink Perfection" camellias--one for my mother as a Valentine's Day present and one for myself. We'll have to keep them in pots--my soil in Austin is out of the question for all acid-loving plants...and I'm fairly certain that I'll put hers in a pot, too. Mom's been trying for several years to locate a "Pink Perfection" camellia--I know she's checked every garden store we've visited in the last two or three years...but she isn't big on internet searching and she never found one. I believe she remembers them fondly from her days of visiting her grandparents in Edna, Texas. (I can just hear my great-aunt Nene saying "Pink Perfection" in her oh-so-southern voice!) After Feb. 14th, I'll ask her for her memories of them and maybe post again!
Thanks, Shoe--love your accent! And I'll happily post pictures--once I get mine! (I emailed my mother this morning, asking her about camellias...who had the Pink Perfection in the family, what was the red one we had in our yard when I was growing up...just priming her for some storytelling when I see her in a couple of weeks.) In a few minutes, when it gets warmer, I'm going outside to do some yardwork at my sister's house in San Antonio. She's got two large Ave Marias that she just bought a couple of weeks ago. One of my jobs is going to be cleaning up the fallen petals around the plants--they'll look much nicer cleaned up! I don't know enough about camellias yet to really know how the two differ...but they're both really pretty. Maybe I'll take a few pictures of them, too. (Posting will come later, though..)
Thanks for the welcome--I've just joined this community and you're my very first exchange. I love it here!