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Camellia amplexicaulis

8th October 2010

I try new Camellia species whenever I run across them. I haven't got as far as actively seeking them out but I am enjoying the process and it might go further.
The species comes from northern Vietnam and possbly also Yunnan in China. North Vietnam is currently a very popular region among plant explorers and new things are being described and introduced all the time. This species grows to 3m tall with red purple flowers and magnificent leaves. Like many new introductions from Vietnam, it cannot be assumed that it will be hardy.
I grew it in the greenhouse where it enjoyed the summer warmth but my usual talent for growing the right thing at the right time seems to have deserted me. A hot summer in the greenhouse was followed by the coldest winter for decades and even though I protected it under the bench it was completely defoliated and died as soon as the spring arrived. I would love to try again but it would have to stay in a pot and come into the conservatory for the winter. I doubt I will get another opportunity - I assume everybody else who grew it shared my experience.