Camellia Japonica are native to China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea where they grow in sheltered mountain forests. They were brought to Europe in the 18th century by Robert James of Essex but have featured on Chinese ceramic decoration since the 11th century in shades of red and white. The cultivar Camellia Bob Hope was bred in California in the 1970s by the well-respected Nuccio’s Nursery.
Bob Hope is one of many, but this variety stands out because it is more tolerant of sun than other red-flowering camellias and it grows in a compact, upright shape that saves space and creates vertical interest.
Bob Hope also has one of the most modern camellia flowers and is very popular as a result. Its 10 cm flowers are brilliant red with golden stamens, clean lines and no frills. The evergreen foliage is contrasting deep glossy green and provides a year-round focal point.
This is a good choice of flowering shrub if you have a compact space or a container garden where every inch counts. Camellia Bob Hope’s upward, neat and tidy shape means that it doesn’t outgrow its welcome.
Height and Spread of Camellia Japonica Bob Hope A medium, upright grower that reaches a maximum height of 3 metres and 2 metres in spread.
How Hardy Is Camellia Japonica Bob Hope Camellia Japonica is hardy in minus temperatures if the roots are well-drained, but the buds need protection against late spring frosts.
How To Use Camellia Japonica Bob Hope Camella Bob Hope is a low maintenance evergreen with stunning modern flowers in spring. It excels as a centrepiece or focal point in a compact new build garden.
Its slim profile makes it a natural choice for large, well-watered and fed containers that perk up a balcony garden with year-round colour and brighten a courtyard, deck or patio.
Versatile camellias also suit woodland gardens, Japanese themes, rock gardens and gravel gardens.
How To Care For Camellia Japonica Bob Hope Camellia Japonica are originally woodland plants that grow in shade, but Bob Hope is more sun tolerant. It’s best to plant it in a semi-shaded spot in acidic soil with plenty of pine or bracken-based compost in the planting hole and around the roots as mulch. All camellias will struggle to grow on chalky soils.
If you have alkaline ground try growing Bob Hope in a plant pot or container using ericaceous compost, but be sure to water and feed it regularly and raise the container up on feet to help the soil drain.
Pruning isn’t required, but you can remove wayward branches or shorten its height after the flowers are spent in mid to late spring.
The buds may need some protection from late frosts. If a frost is forecast in early spring cover the whole shrub with horticultural fleece to ensure the buds are not damaged.