With over 200 species of camellias in existence in the world, the Genus Camellia is one very diverse group of plants. One variety of camellia called ‘Asian Moon’ has some incredible landscape potential in moderate temperate zones where camellias are grown. This variety is a member of the little known Vietnamensis species. Not surprisingly, this species is native to Vietnam. This variety could reach heights of up to 30 feet if not pruned over a long period of time, but it can easily be maintained at 8 to 10 feet in the landscape. This plant is not widespread in America, so we still need to determine it’s cold hardiness. We have a large plant of ‘Asian Moon’ on the Judge Solomon Camellia Trail at the Bamboo Farm and Coastal Gardens in Savannah, Georgia, USA. Over the last 7-8 years, this plant has endured extreme temperatures of down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
So what makes this particular variety such a good landscape plant? One outstanding landscape characteristic of ‘Asian Moon’ is it’s mass blooming characteristic. In the Southeastern United States, this variety blooms in November and December. It is simply covered with masses of medium size white blooms with yellow pollen centers. In addition, the flowers of ‘Asian Moon’ are intensely fragrant. Another significant landscape characteristic of ‘Asian Moon’ is it’s naturally dense plant and foliage. Many camellias are somewhat sparse when it comes to the plant itself, but this Camellia vietnamensis variety is very dense. From a landscape perspective, dense plants generally have more landscape appeal than open plants. This camellia variety reminds us of great landscape screens in the south such as Viburnum odorotissum, but ‘Asian Moon’ has a fabulous blooming season that the generic shrubs can’t match. Add the intense fragrance, and you have one of the most outstanding landscape plants anywhere.
There are many camellias that have amazing landscape attributes. Camellia vietnamensis ‘Asian Moon’ is just one of them.