The common tea plant, Camellia sinensis, is a lovely plant for the garden with relatively small leaves and dainty white flowers bearing a central boss of golden stamens. When not in bloom, the species can fade into the background. Not so with this brightly variegated selection named. Each leaf emerges heavily speckled with white before slowly becoming more green as the season progresses. Later flushes of growth emerge almost pure white and will often remain brightly variegated through winter. This plant was growing as an unnamed selection in the famed variegated plant expert Dr. Yokoi’s garden in Japan. With his blessing, Ted Stephens of Nurseries Caroliniana in North Augusta, South Carolina named it ‘Silver Dust’. It seems to grow somewhat slower than the species and will probably become a 6′ by 6′ shrub over time. It bears the typical flowers of the species in the fall from September to November in Raleigh. Plant ‘Silver Dust’ in some shade as it can burn in full sun spots.
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