At Gene’s Nursery, camellias in the garden is so very important to us. Just because a camellia has a pretty flower, it does not mean that it also make a great plant in the garden. One camellia that has a pretty flower and a super great plant is Camellia japonica ‘Sweetie Pie’. The plant is incredible with rich green foliage. It is an upright plant with a slight dense spread to it. The large to very large flowers are captivating, especially when masses of them are in bloom in the garden. These flowers bloom late fall through winter. Because the color of the flower is a light color, we suggest that this variety be planted in filtered shade with no hot afternoon sun during the winter.

‘Sweetie Pie’ was a seedling of ‘Moonlight Bay’ developed by Dale Fitzgerald of Orlando, Florida and introduced by Dale’s good friend Jerry Conrad after Dale passed away. Jerry named Dale’s seedling ‘Sweetie Pie’ because that was what Dale’s wife Louise used to call him. Jerry was a huge promoter of this camellia and for good reason. It is one of these best Japonicas that we have seen in recent years, and it has much potential for landscape use in shady gardens. We think that you will quickly fall in love with ‘Sweetie Pie’.

  • Species: Japonica
  • Bloom Color: Blush Pink with an occasional deep pink streak or fleck
  • Bloom Size: Large to Very Large
  • Bloom Form: Semidouble
  • Bloom Season: Fall to Winter
  • Growth Habit: Upright
  • Growth Rate: Vigorous
  • Maintainable Height: 5-6 feet
  • Maintainable Width: 3-4 feet
  • Light Preferences: Filtered Shade
  • Plant Uses: Accent, Container, Foundation Planting, and Screen
  • Special Characteristics: Superb Plant
  • Climate Zone Recommendations for Outdoor Planting: 7,8,9

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Gene Phillips is one of the owners of Gene’s Nursery in Savannah, Ga.  He is a 2nd generation grower and attributes his love of Camellias to his father, who inspired him to breath in the beauty that they bring to him but more importantly to others.  In his ‘free’ time, you’ll find him wandering through old gardens, trying to identify flowers or taking countless number of photos to share with others!  He also enjoys meeting people and comparing ‘garden’ stories.

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