Tag Archive for 'Tom Nuccio'

Found an interesting article about a Japanese-American nurseryman Toichi Domoto

Toichi Domoto

A Japanese-American nurseryman’s life in California: floriculture and family, 1883-1992

With Introductions by Julius Nuccio and Ernest Wertheim
Interviews Conducted by Suzanne B. Riess in 1992

The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley

Copy at http://sazanka.org/pages/toichi_domoto

This sasanqua cultivar, ‘Dwarf Shishi’, was originated by Toichi Domoto in 1988:

It is excellent for bonsai.

Also I found a very likely photo pictures of Toichi Domoto (need to check with Tom Nuccio) on http://tinyurl.com/4795g8. I am almost sure this is the same one (born 1902, high school in East Bay):

Continue reading ‘Found an interesting article about a Japanese-American nurseryman Toichi Domoto’

Sasanqua breeders

Well-known sasanqua breeders include:

1. Nuccio’s Nurseries’s founders Joseph and Julius Nuccio, and their children Tom, Jim, and Julius, all living in Southern California. The best-known Nuccio’s sasanqua cultivar is Yuletide – the only really red sasanqua. We wrote an article about their operation and maintain a list of sasanqua cultivars and Camellia species available from Nuccio’s.

2. Dr. William L. Ackerman studied genetics of camellias since 1960s and created cold-tolerant cultivars using Camellia oleifera as a parent. Our favorite Ackerman’s hybrid is ‘Winter’s Rose’ – a beautiful formal pink miniature sasanqua. Dr. Ackerman lives in Maryland, pictures of some of his cultivars are available on the website of a local Camellia Society of the Potomac Valley and on the website of the National Arboretum. We also prepared a photo album of some of his cultivars based on pictures Dr.Ackerman donated to us for publication.

3. Camellia Forest Nursery, Clifford Parks, David Parks and Kai Mei created sasanqua-reticulata hybrids, including ‘Kai Mei’s Choice’. Clifford Parks wrote many articles about Camellia genetics. They are located in North Carolina.

4. Paradise Plants, John Robb created beautiful sasanqua cultivars in Australia, including Paradise Sayaka
and dwarf Paradise Baby Jane. Unfortunately Paradise Camellias are not available in the United States at this moment, but will be available soon via Ball Seed Company, the contact name is Peter Kruger.

5. Tom Dodd Nurseries, Inc was started in 1920 with 40 acres of land by Tom Dodd, Sr. The nursery remained owned by the Dodd family until August of 2004 when it was purchased by Jack Williams and John Williams, owners of Twin Oaks Nursery in Wilmer, AL. Tom Dodd Nurseries introduced a dozen of new sasanqua cultivars.

Nuccio’s Nurseries

Disclaimer: This is not an official Nuccio’s Nurseries web site. Their web site is www.nucciosnurseries.com We are friends of Nuccio’s Nursery but do not represent their business. If you have any questions to Nuccio’s Nurseries, please contact Tom, Jim or Julius at (626) 794-3383

Nuccio’s Nurseries, Inc.
3555 Chaney Trail
Altadena, California 91001

Tel: (626) 794-3383
Fax: (626) 794-3395

Tom Nuccio, Jim Nuccio and Elizabeth Panchul. Nuccio's Nurseries, Altadena, California, December 13, 2003.


Nuccio’s Nurseries is a medium-size family-owned wholesale and retail nursery specializing in growing and hybridizing Camellias and Azaleas. Nuccio’s is well known as one of the richest Camellia nursery in the United States in terms of number of cultivars and species available for sale – more then 600. Nuccio’s family is one of the most recognized sources of Camellia and Azalea introductions worldwide.


Nuccio’s Nurseries started as a backyard operation in Alhambra, California by two brothers, Joseph and Julius Nuccio, who obtained a nursery license from the State of California back in 1935.

In 1946 the brother’s father, Giulio Nuccio, bought 40 acres of land in Altadena, north of Pasadena. This is the current location of 6 acres large Nuccio’s Nurseries that is now managed by Julius’ and Joseph’s children – cousin Julius and brothers Tom and Jim. Nuccio’s has total of 13 people – 3 owners and 10 workers.

Nuccio's Nurseries, Altadena, California, December 19, 2005.


Nuccio’s has five greenhouses 11×57 feet, one greenhouse 12×60, one greenhouse 9×45 feet and one small glass greenhouse. Four of 11×57 greenhouses and one 9×45 greenhouse have misting systems and are used primarily for cuttings. During the winter they are used for grafting. One 11×57 greenhouse and 12×60 are used for grafting.

Most of plants are grown under large 50% shade cloth. An exception is Camellia sasanqua that can be grown in full sun. Nuccio’s uses manual irrigation for adult plants and misting system for cuttings.

Growing Camellias from cuttings

Cuttings are collected during the beginning of summer (end of June, beginning of July) and put into 50% peat moss 50% perlite in greenhouses under misting systems. Cuttings usually root in 3 months.

After 2-4 more months rooted cuttings are transplanted into 2-inch pots and stay there for 6-9 months. Plants in 2-inch pots should be watered every 3-4 days depending on weather. The potting mix used is 3/2/1 peat moss/topsoil/perlite.

Then young plants are transplanted into 4-inch pots and stay there for another 6 months to a year. Sometimes young plants are moved directly into #1 containers.

Then plants are transplanted into #1 containers and stay there for 2-3 years. At that moment they are available for sale.

Some of plants are transplanted into #5 containers and stay there for another 2-3 years. Tom Nuccio recommends for hobby growers to transplant from #1 to #2 containers before transplanting to #5. Some of the slow growing sasanquas, like Shishi-Gashira, are transplanted from #2 containers to #3 containers.

Plant fertilization schedule is every 6-8 weeks from April through September using Cottonseed Meal, chemical fertilizer Pete Light 20-10-20 or Fish Fertilizer. Convenient fertilization dates to remember are Easter, 4th of July and Labor Day.

Nuccio's Nurseries, Altadena, California, December 19, 2005.

Hybridizing and growing Camellia seedlings

Nuccio’s uses mostly open pollinations with some hand pollinations. Camellia fruits ripen in September-October. After fruit breaks, seeds are immediately collected and sown into large #3 containers filled with a soil mix that consists of 50/50 peat moss and sand. Seeds germinate after 6-8 weeks but they don’t come out of the soil until March. They develop very long taproots that must be cut during the first transplantation. Otherwise plants will not be able to grow normally in containers.

Seedlings are transplanted 1 year after sewing into 3 or 4-inch pots and treated just like young plants grown from cuttings.

During its history Nuccio’s introduced over 130 camellia cultivars and over 150 azalea cultivars.

Pest and disease management

Nuccio’s uses Integrated Pest Management. They spray only as needed and use a lot of beneficial insects to control pests. Nuccio’s uses Trichogramma Wasps against larva of moths and caterpillars, Ladybugs against Aphids and Lacewings against soft-bodied insects. Camellia spider mites are controlled using ultra fine oil spray; Hexagon is used to kill eggs of spider mites. Other insecticides and miticides used only on as-needed basis include Talstar, Floramite and Avid.


Nuccio’s has both wholesale and retail sales. The volume of wholesale is somewhat more than the volume of retail. Most of retail sales happen in the nursery rather then through mail order. Nuccio’s ship internationally. Nuccio’s has many cultivars not available in large-volume nurseries. Many Camellia societies order from Nuccio’s for their annual show sales events.

We maintain a list of sasanqua cultivars and Camellia species available from Nuccio’s.

Tom Nuccio. Nuccio's Nurseries, Altadena, California, December 13, 2003.

Nuccio’s Nurseries Catalog

Disclaimer: This is not an official Nuccio’s Nurseries web site. Their web site is www.nucciosnurseries.com We are friends of Nuccio’s Nursery but do not represent their business. If you have any questions to Nuccio’s Nurseries, please contact Tom, Jim or Julius at (626) 794-3383

Nuccio’s Nurseries, Inc.
3555 Chaney Trail
Altadena, California 91001

Tel: (626) 794-3383
Fax: (626) 794-3395

Tom Nuccio and Elizabeth Panchul. Nuccio's Nurseries, Altadena, California, December 13, 2003.

Varieties tending to peak later are designated by “L”;
Varieties showing earlier color are indicated by “E”.
Nuccio’s Nurseries introductions are indicated by “N”.

Name Description Bloom N
Apple Blossom White, blush pink at edge. Single.        
Asakura Large double. Pink buds opening white.
Vigorous, upright grows.
Autumn Dawn Medium, loose peony. White toned deeper pink edge.
Medium, upright, slightly loose growth habit.
E     N
Betty Patricia Large rose form. Shell pink.        
Bert Jones Silvery pink semi-double. Flower quite large.     L  
Blush Rosette Sport of Rosette. Very light blush pink.     L N
Bonanza Deep red. Large, semi-peony form. Medium, low growth. E      
Brooksie Anderson Small double, light orchid pink. Slow, compact growth.     L  
Chansonette Unusual lavender pink. Irregular formal double. Low growing.        
Choji Guruma Anemone. Light pink, toning deeper toward edged of both petals and petaloids.        
Cleopatra Rose pink. Single.        
Dawn Semi-double. White tipped blush pink.     L  
Dazzler Brilliant rose red. Semi-double. E     N
December Rose Seedling of Egao. Large, semi-double, rose pink. Vigorous, upright, spreading growth.     L N
Double Rainbow Semi-double white bordered rose. Medium upright growth.       N
Egao Large, semi-double. Pink. Vigorous upright, somewhat spreading growth.More than likely a Sasanqua-Japonica hybrid.     L  
French Vanilla Large creamy white single. Fast, upright, somewhat open growth.       N
Frosted Star Small semi-double. Narrow petals. White toned light pink. Narrow leaves. Medium, bushy, upright, somewhat spreading growth.        
Grady’s Egao (Grady Perigan) Sport of Egao. Light pink, veined, fine white edge. Flower is smaller than parent’s and growth is more compact.     L  
Hana Jiman Large single white, edged with pink.        
Himekoki Clear pink. Small rose form. Pointed petals. Profuse. Medium, upright, slightly spreading growth habit.        
Hiryu Deep red. Double.        
Hugh Evans Profuse bloomer. Single pink.        
Hugh Evans Blush Very light blush pink, almost white, sport of Hugh Evans. Medium, upright, somewhat lacy growth habit.
Occasional yellow mottling on foliage. Profuse.
Interlude Light orchid pink. Formal double.     L  
Jean May Shell pink, double blossoms.        
Kanjiro (Australian Hiryu) Brilliant rose red, semi-double.        
Ko-Gyoko (Little Gem) Formal double, white with edges of petals pink.     L  
Little Pearl Medium, irregular semi-double, pink buds opening to white edged pink. Compact, upright growth.     L N
Miss Ed Blush pink. Formal to rose form. Narrow columnar growth.        
Misty Moon Pale, light lavender pink. Single to semi-double. Large, round flower with wavy petals. Upright, bushy growth.       N
Momozono Nishiki Single, white bordered rose red. E      
Narumigata Single white edged with pink.        
Navajo Semi-double, brilliant rose red fading to white in center.        
Nodami Ushiro Large, deep pink, semi-double.        
Painted Desert (N#9223) Large, single. Pale pink to near white,
bordered deep rose red. Showy stamens. Slow, upright, compact, stout growth.
Pale Moonlight Pale orchid pink toned lighter toward center.
Some petals rabbit eared. Growth very willowy and cascading.
Pink Snow Light pink, semi-double to loose peony.        
Pink Showers Large semi-double pink. Low, cascading growth.        
Rainbow Large, single white with red border.        
Rosette Small rose pink. Rose form to loose peony. Growth is upright and spreading.       N
Sakura Tsukiyo Large soft pink single. Growth is rather vigorous,
upright, but somewhat pendulous.
Setsugekka Large semi-double white with ruffled petals.        
Shibori Egao Variegated form of Egao. Pink mottled white. Very showy.     L  
Shinonome Very large, soft pink. Single to semi-double.        
Shishi Gashira Double, bright rose red. Low, compact growth.        
Showa-No-Sakae Semi-double to peony. Soft clear pink. Vigorous, low growth. E      
Showa Supreme Peony, soft clear pink. Low growth.       N
Silver Dollar Medium peony, white. Compact, mounding, medium growth.       N
Slim ‘N Trim Single, deep rose pink. Medium, very tight bushy,
columnar growth habit. Excellent for areas of limited width.
Snowfall Large single white. Very vigorous, upright, somewhat open growth.
(We suspect this chance seedling to be a Sasanqua-Oleifera Hybrid.)
Snowflake Large, single white        
Star Above Star White shading to lavender pink at edge. Medium semi-double.     L  
Stars ‘N Stripes
Single, white striped rose red, often with a rose red border.
Because striped Sasanquas are rare, this variety is a unique beauty.
Profuse and showy. Medium, upright, spreading growth. Being a chance
seedling of “Christmas Rose” (Williams’ Lavender x Shishi Gashira),
this is technically a hybrid, but we list it here because its overall
appearance is entirely “Sasanqua” – blooming season, flower type, leaf size
and sun tolerance.
Taishuhai Large, single to semi-double. Deep rose border
to off-white center. Fast and upright but very graceful and lacy.
Takarazuka (Very possibly a Sasanqua-Japonica hybrid).
Medium to large semi-double, light pink toned deeper.
Very vigorous, upright and spreading growth.
Tanya Deep rose pink. Single. Fairly low growth.        
Twinkle, Twinkle (N#8929) This is a beautiful dwarf sasanqua
with very bushy, compact growth. Very small, semi-double, white,
sometime tinted pink, with small pointed petals.
White Cleopatra White sport of Cleopatra.        
White Doves (Mine-No-Yuki) White, semi-double. Low growth.        
White Frills White, semi-double. Moderately low growth        
Yae Arare Large, single white with petals edged pink.        
Yuletide Brilliant orange red single with bright yellow
stamens. Sturdy, compact, upright growth.
    L N

The Fall Meeting at Filoli Garden in California

Organized by the American Camellia Society


John Wang. Bark Grafting.
John Wang. My Thoughts and Discipline on Camellia Breeding.
Gene Phillips. The Importance of Tea in our Gardens.


Clayton Mathis. Techniques of Rooting Cuttings and Air Layering Camellias.
Tom Nuccio. Techniques of Rooting Cuttings and Grafting.
John Wang. Bark Grafting Techniques from China and Taiwan.


Neiman Marcus, Amorepacific beauty products made with Camellias
Megiston Health Foods, Madeline Lee, Organic tea oils made with Camellias

John Wang:

John Wang, Filoli Garden, California, September 8, 2007

Gene Phillips:

Gene Phillips, Filoli Garden, California, September 8, 2007

Tom Nuccio:

Tom Nuccio, Filoli Garden, California, September 8, 2007

Continue reading ‘The Fall Meeting at Filoli Garden in California’