Camellias are superstars of the winter garden here — elegant, evergreen, easy-care, pest-free and waterwise. Now a select few are sweetly scented too. Below are five from Monrovia Growers. Look for them at Armstrong Garden Centers, Walter Andersen Nursery in Poway and Point Loma, Green Thumb Nursery in San Marcos and other independent garden centers.
‘Yuletide’: A member of the sasanqua family, this rich red-flowered shrub is a top seller because “its flowers just look like Christmas,” says Monrovia’s San Diego representative, Cory Parkes. The prolific bloomer reaches 8 feet over time.
‘Pink-A-Boo’: Introduced by Monrovia in 2012, this offshoot of the popular ‘Yuletide’ camellia is “the most fragrant of all scented camellias,” Cory says. It is in full bloom for the December holidays. Large, deep pink blooms with yellow stamens pop against dark green foliage. Grows slowly to 8-10 feet.
‘Buttermint’: Creamy to pale yellow, ruffled blossoms glow against this japonica’s glossy, dark green foliage. Slightly fragrant, it is a hybrid from Nuccio’s Nurseries, famed camellia breeders in Altadena. Fast growing to 6-8 feet.
‘Fairy Blush’: Leaves and flowers are diminutive on this very fragrant sasanqua. Starting in late fall, pink flower buds open to reveal single apple blossom pink flowers about the size of a quarter. Low growing to 4 feet.
‘Kramer’s Supreme’: This perennial best seller bears red buds that unfurl peony-like, rosy red flowers. A japonica camellia, it blooms midwinter to early spring and likes shade. Grows to 10 feet.
By Mary James