Richard Bogren, Owings, Allen D. | 11/14/2015 1:34:20 AM
News Release Distributed 11/13/15
By Allen Owings
LSU AgCenter horticulturist
HAMMOND, La. – Camellia season is here, and camellias are one of our popular evergreen shrubs. We typically think of azaleas for spring flowers, crape myrtles for summer flowers and camellias for fall and winter flowers in Louisiana.
Leslie Ann camellia is a great choice and the latest LSU AgCenter Louisiana Super Plant selection for 2015. It’s a longtime proven variety of Camellia sasanqua for the Louisiana landscape.
The flower petals are bi-colored and sometimes tri-colored with blends of pink, blush and white. Leslie Ann can also be described as having white petals with pink edges. Some folks refer to the blooms as a semi-double to double with irregular petals that can take on a peony form.
Leslie Ann is an early-season bloomer that blooms reliably every year – typically starting in late October and continuing until mid-to-late December. Bloom time coincides with ShiShi Gashira, another popular camellia variety that was previously named a Louisiana Super Plant.
A mostly upright grower, Leslie Ann reaches a mature height in the landscape is 8 feet with a 4-to-5-foot spread. Plants grow vigorously when planted correctly and in the right location.
Even though sasanquas are in bloom, fall is one of the best times to plant them. They need a partly sunny to partially shaded planting location and prefer acid, well-drained soil. Mulch camellias with pine straw or pine bark and fertilize with a slow-release fertilizer in spring at the time of the new growth flush. Pruning will be needed only to direct growth and remove competing branches over the first couple years after planting.
The goal of the Louisiana Super Plant program is for the LSU AgCenter to identify and promote exceptional plants that perform well in Louisiana. Some of these are new varieties, and some are older varieties with a proven track record. Super Plants perform equally well in all parts of the state.
The LSU AgCenter cooperates with nursery and landscape industry members in selecting Super Plants. The program is co-sponsored by the Louisiana Nursery and Landscape Association. One motto of the program is “university tested and industry approved.”
Each plant designated a Super Plant must have at least two years of evaluations and have a proven track record. Trees and shrubs in the program are long-lived, require minimal care and have fewer disease and insect problems. They must be easily produced and available for all nursery and landscape industry wholesalers and retailers to market and sell.
Fall is a great to add trees and shrubs to your landscape. Consider other Louisiana Super Plant trees like Shoal Creek vitex, willow oak, evergreen sweetbay magnolia and Southern sugar maple. Other Louisiana Super Plant shrubs that would be good as companion plants with Leslie Ann are Frostproof gardenia, Aphrodite althea, Belinda’s Dream and Drift roses, and Conversation Piece azalea.
With the naming of four new Louisiana Super Plants in 2015 – Homestead Purple verbena, Henna coleus and Fireworks fountain grass joining Leslie Ann camellia – 32 great landscape plants have been named as “best of the best” for Louisiana. More Louisiana Super Plants are coming in 2016.
You can see more about work being done in landscape horticulture by visiting the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station website. Also, like us on Facebook. You can find an abundance of landscape information for both home gardeners and industry professionals at both sites.