The Garden Plant
Camellia × williamsii ‘Anticipation’ 1

Camellia × williamsii ‘Anticipation’

Choosing a Camellia for a container

Most Camellias are fine for container growing although generally they perform the best if planted in the garden border. One that definitely bucks the trend is the Camellia × williamsii ‘Anticipation’ An absolute treat planted in a pot.

Close up of the deep pink flowers of Camellia × williamsii 'Anticipation

Performance in our Fife garden

Planted in a reasonably large square pot in the Autumn of 2017 the Camellia Williamsii Anticipation in March 2019 is looking terrific. I planted it with a 50/50 mix of top soil and an ericaceous compost.

The first bloom opened in early March and looks set to continue flowering for several weeks yet. Having moved from Cheshire to Fife a couple of years ago I was preparing for some compromise in the garden due to the cooler weather. The garden doesn’t seem to notice it but compared to our southern home the air here is sharper, mind you spending most of our lives in Aberdeen we are well accustomed to the bracing air.

About Camellia x Williamsii Anticipation

In Scotland the Williamsii Camellias are the wisest choice, ideal for our cooler climate. Very often the form Donation comes highly recommended, and sure enough we had it in our Aberdeen garden where it never failed, and we also have it in our Fife garden where it is developing very nicely. (Donation in our Aberdeen garden)

Williamsii? Camellias came about with the crossing of Camellia japonica and Camellia saluenensis. Bred in Cornwall in 1923. For detailed information open the following link about williamsii

Back to Anticipation, the peony shaped rose pink flowers are borne profusely on an evergreen upright compact shrub with dark green leaves. It can grow to a height of about 2 mtrs, however growing in a tub the height can be kept in check without the fear of compromising flowering, further details below.

Showing Camellia × williamsii 'Anticipation' growing in a tub just outside the bac door.

Anticipation has a very long flowering period. New buds appear in Spring whilst the shrub is in full bloom, in fact flowering from February until early May is not uncommon.

It is essential for Camellias to be grown in ericaceous soil. If planting in a pot use ericaceous compost or a mix of top soil and ericaceous compost.

Feed your Camellia just after flowers have gone over, I like to use a liquid ericaceous fertiliser such as Vitax You can feed once again in mid July, but no later.

Camellia × williamsii 'Anticipation'

Quick details for Camellia Anticipation.

fully hardy in UK


Grows to about 2 mtrs in ten years (can be kept in check)


No problem pruning Camellias as long as you do it at the right time. You must prune as soon as flowering has ended this will ensure that your shrub will have plenty blooms next season. Taking a few inches off the top will help to bush up a young spindly plant. Older shrubs can also be pruned at this time of year.


Best in partial shade, actually, our one is in almost full shade and is doing very well. Frustratingly early morning sun can damage the blooms on those frosty mornings if you plant in an East facing position.


RHS award of garden merit


Free draining moist loamy soil (acidic)


March in our garden

The warmer weather in February has resulted in earlier signs of Spring this year. We have four Camellias. The one below Black Lace recently planted may well turn out to be my favourite.

Showing a single bloom of the Camellia Black Lace. Stunning deep red flower

The Williamsii Debbie is another very hardy Camellia, picture taken March 24th. The fourth Camellia Donations, buds are colouring up, should start to open in the next few days.

Camellia Debbie. Just coming into flower at the end of March

The Brunnera Macrophylia dawsons white planted in the courtyard area last year. Started to flower very early this year at the end of February.

Brunnera Macrophylia dawsons whitestarted to flower early this year at the end of February.

Skimmia japonica temptation must surely be one of the best self fertile Skimmias. See how fresh the berries still look whilst in Spring flowering period. See plant profile for Skimmia Temptation

Skimmia japonica temptation. On of the best self fertile Skimmias.

In the front garden, the first bloom of Magnolia Stellata has just opened.

Camellia × williamsii ‘Anticipation’ 2

Often we see plants referred to as (frost hardy) It doesn’t mean fully hardy. I used to be fooled with this which often led to disappointment. Well, the Daphne odora aureo marginata is one of these frost hardy plants looking wonderful in our front garden which is south-west facing. The plant only has a few flowers, and they are small, as they are meant to be. I am so pleased with this one, it’s a balancing act whether I am showing off at the result or simply pleased.

Camellia × williamsii ‘Anticipation’ 3

The latest tree added to our courtyard garden is the PrunusAutumnalis Rosea. I think it is going to look just fine in this position.

Camellia × williamsii ‘Anticipation’ 4

© 2019, Alistair. All rights reserved.

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Brent Richard Dixon

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