Snow CamelliaTips on Growing Snow Camellia (in Japan)

Snow Camellias are available for purchase at gardening shops.
You might hesitate to try growing the Snow Camellia because the cultivation of this rare plant looks harder than other, more common, camellia varieties.
So, here is all you need to know about how to grow this amazing plant!

First of all, decide where to plant it. Because of its unique ability to protect itself under a blanket of snow from the cold and aridness, the cultivation process is different depending on where you live.

In snowy regions such as mountainous areas

Plant camellias outdoors in snowy regions, because the outdoor environment is friendlier for the plant. Choose a site that can protect the plant from direct sunlight, especially in the heat of summer. Morning sun and dappled afternoon shade are ideal conditions.
Snow Camellias like ample moisture and well-drained soil. Plant camellias at a 45-degree angle so that the stem of the plant can easily bend down to ground level as it carries loads of snow.
This method, called the Aga Town Planting Method, takes advantage of the flexible and soft nature of the Snow Camellia's stems and branches. With this method, an additional support system (like poles) to tolerate snow is unnecessary, and the plant is easier to care for.

In climates where it gets dry in winter, such as areas near the Pacific Ocean

In areas with dry winters, Snow Camellias grow best in containers.
Choose a site that gets indirect sunlight, especially in the heat of summer. Morning sun and dappled afternoon shade are ideal conditions.
Use a mixture of several varieties of soil, including Akadama, Kanuma, Hyuga Pumice and Kiryu Sand, and add peat moss to the mix if possible.
When choosing soil, keep in mind that Snow Camellias do not tolerate alkaline.

The Snow Camellia is vulnerable to the cold and dry winter air. If you live in a dry environment such as the Kanto Region, mist the camellia if the container is placed in sunlight during the daytime. Do not leave the container outdoors from evening through the early morning when the temperature drops. Instead, place it in a room with a humidifier or a bathing room.
You may wonder how a Snow Camellia vulnerable to the cold of winter can survive in snowy regions. That is because it can endure the cold under a blanket of snow. The space between the ground and the snow can maintain moisture levels and keep the temperature over 0°C.

Care after planting: watering and pruning

Water the plant deeply immediately after planting and every day thereafter.
Make sure to allow the excess water to be drained from the container and never allow the container to stand in water.

Pruning can be done from March to April after flowering (hard pruning is best done in February or early March).
Buds begin to grow around June, so after that, never prune to prevent losing buds. Slight trimming is fine.

How to repot and propagate

Rainy season is the best time to repot container-grown camellias, but you can also repot from March to April, or September to October (August to September in areas with a colder climate).

Propagation can be done through cuttings from June to August.
If using a propagation chamber (covering the camellia cuttings with a clear plastic bag over the container), you can propagate the camellia in winter, too. Remove the plastic bag little by little around June so that the plant can adapt to the outside air.
Propagation by layering is possible, too, from March until August.
Either from cuttings or by layering, the roots of Snow Camellias develop more easily than other camellia varieties.

We hope that these tips will be of help to you.

Best Spot to See Snow Camellias

You can see Snow Camellias all around, as the plant grows naturally throughout Aga Town. The pure species of the plant is specially preserved and grown in Tsunogami Snow Camellia Garden, where you can also see many other Snow Camellia varieties.
Tens of thousands of Snow Camellia shrubs, including the original variety, blooming all at once, are a stunning sight.
The best time to visit is from the middle to the end of April.

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2019.02.13 | Staff | Snow Camellia

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