x-Camellia x williamsii 'Anticipation'
Camellias are some of our most well loved woodland plants, blooming from late autumn and on into spring with their beautiful, showy flowers. Evergreen, they also have simple, oval, glossy leaves and thrive in shade, making them perfect for brightening up a gloomy corner.
Cameliia 'Anticipation' is a stunner- a large, handsome, upright shrub with ruffled, peony like blooms in a rich, rose shade and in flower from late winter onwards. It doesn't hold onto its flowers like some camellias varieties, such as camellia japonica and reticulata, which can cling to the plant for weeks after fading unless deadheaded, and is also hardier than other varieties, with smaller leaves that can cope better with the cold and wind and so doesn't need as much cossetting as other camellias.
All camellias need an acid soil of between 5.5 and 6.5 to thrive, so if you do not have these conditions at home and can't resist this plant, grow 'Anticipation' in ericaceous compost in a container.
Camellias also like a loose, open soil, so add plenty of compost and mulch plants in autumn with composted bark or pine needles. Do not use mushroom compost on acid loving plants as it is alkaline and will cause leaves to start yellowing. Water plants, especially those in pots, with rainwater. If you're stuck though and stocks run low, tap water for a limited time is better than none.
Never plant camellias on an east-facing wall where the early morning sun can cause a quick thawing of frost and damage flower tissue, spoiling their beautiful blooms.
Water plants well through the growing season and particularly when the buds are forming from late summer onwards and if needed, prune plants immediately after flowering and before new growth appears as this will carry the buds for the following years flowers.
Camellia make beautiful evergreen specimens in borders and pots but also work well with other winter flowering shrubs, such as sarcococca or winter honeysuckle. Plant early flowering bulbs to complete the scene.