Camellia x williamsii ‘Debbie’

Glossy leathery foliage is the perfect foil in late winter for the rose pink double peony-form flowers up to a whopping 12cm across. This acid-loving shrub has an open and upright habit, and performs best in part to full shade and moist, well drained soils.

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Origin: Parent species from East Asia
Genus: Camellia
Species / Cultivar: x williamsii 'Debbie'

Plant Biography

Camellia x williamsii was an early Camellia hybrid, bred in 1923 by J.C. Williams of Cornwall by crossing the familiar Camellia japonica with the less well known Camellia saluensis. In the wild C. japonica grows in Mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea and Southwestern Japan, whereas the other parent C. saluensis is only found in south-central China.
Camellias have huge cultural and historic significance in East Asia, with Camellia japonica featuring in Chinese art since the 11th Century. In the 18th Century European colonialists took Camellias back and popularised them across Western horticulture.

Camellia x williamsii ‘Debbie’
Soil: Ericaceous
Will not tolerate an alkaline pH, so pot in ericaceous compost if site is not neutral to acid.
Growth Rate: Slow
This plant is particularly slow to grow, even during growing season.
Water Requirement: Medium
Once it is established, this plant is likely to only require watering during drier periods.
Maintenance: Low
Minimal skill or input needed beyond the basics, a very independent plant.
Situation: Part Shade to Full Shade
Can enjoy several hours of direct sunlight, but also happy in full shade.
Eventual Height: 2.5-4m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 2.5-4m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Fully Hardy
Will survive unprotected outdoors in most areas of the UK, even in the harshest winters.
Habit: Evergreen
Always in leaf throughout the year. It won't lose all its leaves at any one time.

Expert Tip

Like most Camellias, ‘Debbie’ will drop its flowers gracefully when spent, so no laborious deadheading required!
Hybrid vigour

Hybrid vigour

C. x williamsii hybrids like ‘Debbie’ flower later than C. japonica, often reported to begin in January and bear flowers through to as late as March. However, luckily they have inherited Camellia japonica’s renowned cold hardiness. Hybrid vigour, the phenomenon whereby a cross of two species has improved abilities, means that this group of Camellias are particularly floriferous. Like many C. x williamsii, ‘Debbie’ has slightly translucent petals, making them all the more attractive in the late winter sun.

Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

Reasonably vigorous for a Camellia, this can eventually reach 4m over many years in the right spot. Given a large enough container, adequate watering and ericaceous compost they can do extremely well as specimen potted shrubs.


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