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Arboretum Scene: Camellia sasanqua ‘Mine-no-yuki’

A Stunning Selection of the Japanese Autumn Camellia

'Mine-no-yuki' blooming in the Winter Garden in November.

‘Mine-no-yuki’ blooming in the Winter Garden in November.

Though peak season in the Witt Winter Garden at the Arboretum is from January to March, there are sights to savor in this iconic display throughout the year. Starting in November, three specimens of Camellia sasanqua ‘Mine-no-yuki’ burst into bloom on the northeast corner of the garden and put on a stunning flower show that can last well into early winter.

A popular selection of the Japanese autumn camellia dating back more than a century, ‘Mine-no-yuki’ is a multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with a spreading habit. It produces masses of large, lightly scented, peony-like white blossoms that contrast dramatically with the plant’s beautiful, glossy, dark green foliage. A recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Merit in 1964, it has been rebranded as the ‘White Doves’ camellia by the U.S. nursery trade—but I think the original cultivar name, which translates to “snow on the ridge,” is more aptly descriptive.

‘Mine-no-yuki’ makes a wonderful accent plant, but its spreading habit and slow growth also make it suitable for use as a low hedge, espalier, or container plant. Generally thought of as a small- to medium-sized shrub, it may eventually grow to between 12 to 15 feet tall and wide. A tough, low-maintenance plant, ‘Mine-no-yuki’ performs best in partial to full sun and moist, well-drained, humus-rich soil.

—Randall Hitchin, Arboretum Foundation