Espalier (Es-pah-lee-yay) is a horticultural term derived from the French word for trellis, and is used to describe a plant that has been trained to grow flat against a trellis or wall. This is particularly desirable when space is limited, because, as we know, Camellias can be ‘space gluttons’, and in smaller gardens the solution for lovers of Camellias is to grow them using this technique.
When selecting a plant for use as an espalier, look for one with open, sprawling growth and several leading branches. Plant the camellia against the wall or trellis, then tie the branches back in the desired position using soft plastic ties or twine – don’t use wire as it can cut into the branches. Prune off any unnecessary growth, training the leaders to grow horizontally or at an upward angle, with the best displays generally being symmetrical. Try to keep any major pruning until after flowering and your espalier will reward you year after year with a display of flowers that will always be in clear view.
Most sasanqua varieties are suitable, although any camellia can be trained as an espalier.
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The word espalier initially referred to the actual trellis on which the plant was trained to grow, but over time has come to be used to describe the technique. An espalier collects almost as much sunlight as a regular tree, yet has far less mass. This makes them ideal not only for decorative purposes, but also for gardens in which space is limited. They may also be planted next to a wall, which can reflect more sunlight and retain heat overnight, or be planted so that they are facing north and absorb maximum sunlight. These two factors allow an espalier to succeed in cooler climates, where a non-espaliered tree of the same variety would fail.
Sasanqua. A very good performing Camellia that flowers from early autumn through to early winter. The blooms are double, white, with just a hint of blush pink on the outer edges. Upright vigorous habit. Happiest in semi-shade. Presented here espaliered. Evergreen.
Flower Colour: White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2m x 1.5m
Hybrid Espalier. This beautiful Camellia has tight bright pink buds that open to miniature, single, apple-blossom pink blooms which are lightly fragrant. A pretty Camellia which would suit a small courtyard or patio area. Flowers for a long period. Happiest in semi-shade with acid soil. Evergreen.
Flower Colour: Pink / White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1m
Hybrid Miniature Espalier. A very sweet Camellia with small baby pink ruffled flowers that are borne on gently cascading branches. The foliage is dainty and a light olive green in colour. Ideal container plant. Happiest in semi-shade. Evergreen.
Flower Colour: Pink Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2m x 1.5m
Sasanqua. One of NZ's favourite Camellias and deservedly so. An abundance of large wavy white blooms with prominent yellow stamens appear in early autumn through to winter. The blooms are softly scented. Happiest in semi-shade. Evergreen.
Presented here espaliered.
This beautiful Camellia is definitely one of my favourites. Introduced from Japan in 1898 so a proven winner! Translation of the name means Snow, Moon and Flowers - isn't that just lovely?
Flower Colour: White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 3m x 1.5m
An invaluable plant for covering difficult shady spots in the garden. One of our favourites. The leathery dark green foliage with 'serrated' edges always looks good and is clustered on short stems. Tiny white flowers in summer.
Plant in semi-shade for best results. Spreads easily, evergreen.
Flower Colour: White Habit: Spreading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 10cm x spreads