Camellias are one of the most popular winter- and spring-flowering shrubs, providing a vivid splash of color when little else is in bloom. Although they need acid soil, they are easy to grow in containers of ericaceous (acidic) potting compost. Gardening Know How : Camellia!
Gardening Know How : Camellia
Camellias have been prized possessions of gardeners for decades. They thrive in mild climates from California to Florida and are available in thousands of cultivars. These broad leaved evergreen shrubs have durable, glossy foliage and gorgeous flowers.
The common camellia (C. japonica) is well known. Particularly for its double (many-petaled) cultivated varieties.
Whose overlapping petals range in colour from white through pink to red and variegated. In the wild form, five to seven petals surround a mass of yellow stamens.
How to Care for a Camellia
Camellias have a reputation as being demanding and picky plants. But much depends on how they are planted.
If you take the time to plant this shrub appropriately. Your camellia plant maintenance will be significantly reduced.
Tap water, especially in hard water districts, often contains too much calcium for camellias, reducing the acidity around the roots over time. Rain water is ideal for watering camellias. If rain water runs out, tap water is satisfactory for a month or two in summer.
Exposure and watering
In general, camellias grow and bloom better in partial shade, with shelter from hot afternoon sun. This is especially true for young plants, which thrive under the shade of tall trees or when grown on the north side of a house.
As they grow larger and their thick canopy of leaves shades and cools their roots, they gradually will accept more sun. Shade provided in winter reduces cold damage in the Upper South.
Pruning and training
Like other early-flowering shrubs, camellias form flower buds in late summer and autumn, especially on new growth. Pruning at this time could remove potential flowering growth.
Tea, beverage produced by steeping in freshly boiled water the young leaves and leaf buds of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. Two principal varieties are used. The small-leaved China plant and the large-leaved Assam plant. Hybrids of these two varieties are also grown.
Theaceae, the tea family of plants in the order Theales. The Theaceae comprises about 40 genera of trees or shrubs native to temperate and tropical regions of both hemispheres, including several ornamental plants, one that is the source of tea.
Are camellias fast growing?
Generally, camellias grow at a medium pace for an evergreen plant, with most putting on about 4 to 8 inches a year. If your heart is set on a camellia. Select a sasanqua which will grow faster than a japonica. ‘Kanjiro’ may be a good cultivar to try—a gardener in Atlanta reported hers putting on more than 4 feet in just three years (an average of 16 inches a year).
Keep in mind that growth rate varies wildly depending on zone, exposure, soil, and other conditions. If you need something that matures at a faster rate you should consider fast-growing deciduous plants for filtered light. Such as Calycanthus spp (spicebush), hydrangeas, spireas, elderberry, forsythia, and Ribes sanguineum. Evergreen alternatives include heavenly bamboo, osmanthus, cherry laurel, and Solanum rantonnetii.
Additional Camellia Plant Maintenance
You’ll find two primary species of camellias in American gardens: japonica and sasanqua camellias.
Since japonicas bloom in early spring. And they should be pruned immediately after the flowers fade.
The latter are hardier and tougher than the japonicas, tolerating drought and resisting disease better. Both require a little pruning, however, to maintain their beauty.