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Best camellias for faster growing privacy hedge.

March 7, 2016

I have a beautiful, brand new fenced-in side yard that is mostly visible from the street. We will be planting a privacy hedge of some kind to screen our yard from public view, and I would really love to do a camellia hedge. It does not have to be super tall; 6 feet would be tall enough, though I don't mind taller eventually. What I really need to know is whether there are any varieties that can truly be called "vigorous". I realize "vigorous growth" for a camellia is probably not nearly the same rate as for other, truly fast-growing shrubs, but it seems nearly impossible to find concrete information on how fast I can really expect them to grow.

I found a picture online of a beautiful hedge that alternates pink and red camellia shrubs, and it is just beautiful. I'm hoping to be able to do that kind of thing. The area where they will be planted gets varying amounts of sun and shade throughout the day, but since I'm in N.O. in zone 9 and there is plenty of sun, I think sasanquas might be best (aren't they supposed to be more sun-tolerant?).

I have looked at "Autumn Rose" and "Our Linda" on the Green Nurseries website; they list both as extremely vigorous. Does anyone have experience with either of these that can inform me of their growth rate? I'm also interested in "Moonshadow," "Susy Dirr," and "Sparkling Burgundy." Alternately, I would also consider planting the camellias along with some kind of evergreen vine on the fence to create privacy while waiting for the camellias to grow. (The camellias and any vine would all have to be planted inside the fence line.) I love morning glory, but I don't want to plant anything that will go crazy and cause problems. It would have to be a fairly mannerly vine. Any advice would be super helpful! Thanks so much, everyone.


Comments (12)

  • mlle_melanie

    Bump. Anyone?

  • luis_pr

    How lucky you are! I can only look at pictures of camellia hedges as the sun is too strong on their leaves here so I am forced to find separate planting locations for each of them. Below would be some things I would think about; selecting the sasanqua plants is basically a personal choice. I would not consider japonicas unless you can provide shade by 11am or so. Or you could put sasanquas in the most sunlit section of the hedge and japonicas in the shady sections. I do not have many sasanquas (definitely not the ones you mentioned), basically more japonicas than sasanquas. The japonicas sometimes get sunscorch at 12pm so I suggest getting shade by 11am in NO. As for which camellias to use, any that: you like; have colors that combine; that blooms at the right time, grows 'fast" (hee hee hee) and grows upwards, in a columnar or triangular shape and that is priced appropriately.

    Since you said the sun varies, I would start by determining if, in your location, they can handle the sun and if they will have access to an irrigation line. And that means check the effect of the sun on the leaves during the summer months since just about any camellia can handle full sun in March. You could, for example, look at where camellias are planted where you live and ask what varieties the owners bought. Then buy accordingly. Perhaps one of each type if you are going to get different plants.Then buy more of the same on Year 2 if they have a good summer in Year 1.

    A hedge of only one camellia is easy as the plants will grow at the same speed. You will have a somewhat uniform look to the hedge (same height, width, color, etc) with little pruning. If you get more than one then make sure that the description of each one says that its growth habit is columnar/pyramidal, "fast" and have a bloom color/bloom time/bloom form you like. But be aware that everyone has a different definition for "fast". You can compare what the growth speed is from camellias for sale at different places but, it would be wise to get the growth speed information from the same source. With different camellias, you also have to decide about their blooming at different times or all blooming at about the same time. Maybe you want all of the blooming at the same as in the picture you have or maybe not. Whatever you like. Also, consider that you will start getting privacy at some point after, oh, say 6+ years if it grows fast?

    To choose... hmmm. The American Camellia Society has pictures of some 800 Camellias but otherwise, you would need to go to camellia nurseries' website or gardens in your area to choose a or several sasanquas. You can also go to wholesalers' websites like Monrovia who have a good website with lots of information and using the search, look for camellias, columnar, "almostfast" growth rate (obviously look for similar) and other qualities you want.

    Lastly consider that if all the camellias you select bloom at the same time, you will have a green wall the rest of the year. Consider planting something else, maybe in front?, to add bloom color during the rest of the year. Say, hydrangeas (long bloom time), azaleas (usually blooms in Spring but some natives can bloom much later), etc?

    So choose whichever ones you like that match your specs. Write to the place where you got that picture from and find which camellias are those. And have a good time during the process. I spent four years visiting NO while my sister went to Loyola so this could be a fantastic project.

  • Embothrium

    The C. japonica hedge shown is perhaps decades old. If it is hot you probably are best to go with Sasanqua camellias, also these may come on a little faster for you.

    Haven't seen any this year but not long ago independent garden centers here were still bringing in camellias already maybe 3' tall or more as well branched, full and bushy free standing specimens in tubs and also trained on frames. So if you can locate some of these in your area at the present time you can start out with a planting already of some height. That is if you have the financial and physical ability to acquire, transport and plant multiple shrubs costing over $300 each (awhile ago) and in containers of some size and weight.

  • Vicissitudezz

    Since the camellias you seem to be interested in are available through Green Nurseries, I would contact them, explain what you're looking for and ask for advice about how to achieve the look you want. I believe that they are wholesalers, so it's not likely they would try to pressure you into something inappropriate for your conditions.

    Your photograph shows Camellia japonica plants, which tend to grow more slowly than Sasanquas, but C. japonica does have a significantly longer bloom time, so there's that to think of also. A japonica I have that is putting on size fairly quickly (compared to other japonicas, mind you) is 'Tick-Tock'. I noticed that Green Nurseries sells it, too.

    Some of the Green camellias you mentioned are available through a LA Nursery called 'Almost Eden'; if you wanted to call or e-mail them for suggestions, I know they are very responsive and knowledgeable.


    "Mannerly" and "vine" don't seem to belong in the same sentence- at least not in your zone! Having said that, though, you might want to have a look at a native honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens; as the Latin name suggests, this isn't a deciduous vine, so it should provide some leafy screening year around. It is not nearly as scary-invasive as Japanese honeysuckle, and there are various cultivars around in various shades of red, yellow, orange and pink. Native wisterias are also pretty well-behaved- unlike their Asian cousins, but they only bloom in the spring and may not be evergreen in your area. Pretty, but maybe not a good screen?

    I would check with a local nursery for suggestions about evergreen, mannerly vines, since what behaves well in one part of the country may not hold true for your neck of the woods. Here's a link for a mail-order nursery (in GA) that specializes in vines: http://www.gardenvines.com They may have some useful suggestions for your zone.

    Have fun deciding!


  • DLEverette_NC_Zone7b

    Melanie, now that it's been almost a couple of years, what did you decide to do? I'm looking at planting a hedge to separate me and a neighbor along a fence.

  • wanna_run_faster

    I'm also popping in on this thread. I've ordered French Vanilla from almost Eden an am going to give those a try as a privacy screen since they are described as vigorous and the right mature height I am looking for.

  • mlle_melanie
    Hi DLEverett! Funny you should ask! I'm still/again trying to decide on a shrub solution. I decided to try a mix of different flowering vines, which produced a very beautiful passion vine that got killed in our freeze this past winter. So now I'm back to thinking of shrubs as a more permanent, frost-proof, and taller option. I go back and forth. Sometimes I think about doing a hedge of some kind of holly, sometimes I think of doing a mixed hedge screen, or a combo of alternating shrubs and small trees. I'll update here whenever I finally decide and try again! Suggestions welcome, haha. :)
  • luis_pr

    Someone told me that FV has some scent. Can you detect any? I know tht varies person to person and within the times of the day but I was curiouos. I can sense some scent at times in some of my camellias but only if I stick nose close enough to be stung by a bee. Hee hee hee! ;o) I did a hedge of hollies (there was a big sale at the plant nursery) and ended with 8 or so.

    Camellias grow kind of slowly so I nixed that idea of a sasanqua hedge. I wanted the hedge to act also as a privacy hedge and the hollies grew quite well and fast. Using camellias instead may have been an interesting experiment for this area; sasanquas, in small sizes, I can find around here in some places... including full sun locations but no large specimens needed by the hedge. Those large specimens... I always find them locally in afternoon shade, which the current hedge does not get. But in theory, sasanqua leaves should do well here so who knows if that would have worked... of course, I would have had to wait sooo much longer for the camellias to get tall.

  • totoro z7b Md

    What about a hedge of roses instead? Like Mrs BR Cant. Lots of color options with roses. Ask the rose forum folks for ideas.

  • luis_pr

    You have to be careful with roses because Rose Rossette Disease is active in Louisiana so you could loose the whole hedge. It just struck my garden this Winter and I had to pull out one rose shrub. No cure so the current recommendation is to bag them to the trash. ;o(

  • mlle_melanie
    Totoro, I would love to do roses but I don't want anything thorny, since I want my small kids to feel free to run around safely. That would be gorgeous though! When I mentioned Holly, I had a spineless variety in mind. I'm actually still trying to determine whether Emerald Colonnade is totally spine free.
  • PNW-Transplant

    The hedge in this picture appears to be several varieties of japonica. The hedge is cube shaped and at least 10ft tall.

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