Sasanquas are our great camellias of fall. Bill Finch of Mobile Botanical Gardens says most camellias bloom in late winter and spring, but sasanquas start much earlier—often in October—and bloom throughout November and December. Sasanquas have been a part of Gulf Coast gardening for a long time. Many varieties have been developed locally, including the beautiful October Magic that is now widely available. Sasanqua camellias grow very compactly and make beautiful hedges. Bill says one reason they grow slowly and compactly is that sasanquas produce so many flower buds…that effort uses up much of the plants energy. These plants are perfectly adapted to our climate, and can even take a little more sun than most other camellias, so you can plant them just about anywhere in the yard and they’ll do well. Like any plant, sasanquas want good soil with lots of organic matter (leaves and whatnot). The soil you plant them in should be more the consistency of oatmeal rather than flour. Oh, and Bill says don’t let the grass grow right up to the bush, because you might be tempted to weed-whack and that can cause all sorts of problems. A little mulch around the base of the plant is a good idea. Fall is a great time to plant sasanquas, even when they are blooming! Learn more at mobilebotanicalgardens.org.