Smokey Dawn produces medium pink, perfect form flowers that are edged in purple in cooler weather. This seemingly unknown Camellia, is very similar in all other regards to the exceptionally popular Purple Dawn (a.k.a. Mathotiana Supreme) Camellia including its ultimate size and vigor and is most likely a sport or seedling of that Camellia. Smokey Dawn came to us via Corey Stanford of Forest Hill, Louisiana in the 1980's and probably originated at his nursery. It begins flowering early in the season (December-January-February) and flowers over an extended period.
If you are familiar with this Camellia please feel free to contact us to help fill in the blanks as to its history and origin.
Camellias are the rose of winter in southern gardens, with their colorful blossoms held against deep rich green glossy foliage on a naturally upright to rounded evergreen shrub. Pick the flowers and float them in a bowl of water to bring their beauty indoors. Camellias prefer an acidic, humus rich soil with an organic mulch and average moisture. Once well-established they need little additional care and will continue to perform for years to come. Most Camellias do best where they get light shade or morning sun and the light filtered shade of pines seems to be perfect. For more information about growing Camellias see our Camellia Growing Guide or any of the excellent resources below:
Camellias Brighten the Winter Landscape- Get It Growing by Dan Gill with LSU Agcenter
Camellia Culture for Home Gardeners- UGA Extension by James T Midcap etal.
These large evergreen shrubs make easy container plants provided they get regular moisture and a good quality, well-draining, acidic potting soil. We prefer well aged, decomposted bark based mixes over peat based mixes and usually add a little extra sand or hadite to ensure good drainage. Container grown Camellias can suffer root damage if the soil is allowed to freeze so you will want to consider protecting them during any extended periods below freezing. They can usually tolerate overnight temperatures that dip as low as 20-25oF for short periods in 8" or larger containers. When grown or overwintered indoors provide them with plenty of cool direct sunlight. Preferably a few hours in the morning, in the late afternoon, or filtered light, like through a pine, is fine as well with high light conditions the remainder of the day whenever possible. For more on growing Camellias as container plants see the following article by Dan Gill with LSU Agcenter: Camellias are Outstanding in Containers.
Grows To: 8-10'H x 4-6'W
USDA Cold Hardiness Zones: 7,8,9
click here to find your USDA Cold Hardiness zone
Outdoor Light: AM sun, Part sun, Part shade, Filtered shade, Light shade
Indoor Light: Early or late direct sunlight, Cool sunlight, High
pH Range: Acidic, Mildly Acidic
Soil & Moisture: Average moist, humus rich, acidic soils with good drainage and a deep organic mulch.
Fertilizing: Use a balanced, slow release, nonburning fertilizer for acid loving plants.
Pruning: Once the Camellia flowering season has ended in mid-late spring, before buds set in summer.
Salt Tolerance: Slight to Poor
Deer Resistance: Seldom Bothered
Native To / Origin: US Gardens - tentatively credited to Corey Stanford, Stanford's Nursery, Forest Hill, Louisiana - circa 1980
Click here to learn more about how to grow Smokey Dawn Camellia from Almost Eden
See our Planting A New Plant, How To, and General Growing Guide for basic planting, potting, and watering instructions
Container Size: 4.5 inch / 20 fl.oz. / 591 ml