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Camellias are a common sight in gardens in warmer parts of the United States, such as the South and Pacific Northwest. With the exception of a few colorful plants, these plants are most attractive during the winter.
In an otherwise dreary season, the evergreen foliage and bright, cheerful blossoms are welcome. As a result, we refer to them as the winter rose. Camellias, like all camellias, are prolific bloomers that are frequently mistaken for difficult to grow flowers.
Let’s talk about growing and caring for camellias, because you want to see just how simple it is.
What Are Camellias?
Theaceae family of tea plants includes Camellias, which are closely related. They’re found throughout Asia, including Japan and Indonesia. Tea, particularly Camellia sinensis species, is made from these plants.
All of the varieties are evergreen shrubs or small trees, and there are roughly 220 of them as well as over 3000 hybrids.
Camellias, which are thought to have spread throughout the globe thanks to the tea commerce, were planted and admired in Japan and China many years before they reached Western nations.
10 of The Best Camellia Options
Camellias come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, but here are a few of the most popular to consider. C. species are the most common species available to home gardeners. C. sasanqua Japanese cedar, or cedrus japonica.
C is the capital of the country. Between October and December, sasanqua plants are at their peak. They produce huge blooms and like the sunlight. They’re typically hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 7-9 and are relatively cold tolerant.
In the winter garden, ‘Debutante’ is an excellent option for keeping things bright for as long as possible. From October to May, this one has a long flowering period. For zones 7 through 10, it’s a good choice. You’ll need to offer winter protection in Zone7.
There is no need for protection in zones 8 through 10.
Beautiful light and deep pink blooms on deep green foliage up to 12 feet tall will be produced by this japonica cultivar.
2. High Fragrance
It’s well known that camellia blossoms lack a fragrant scent. Yet, the flowers of ‘High Fragrance’ are dark pink and scented like roses and jasmine.
This hybrid is ideal for limited areas because it grows to be a compact four to six feet tall. Late winter to early spring, Hardy in Zones 7 to 10, ‘High Fragrance’ blooms.
3. Kramer’s Supreme
‘Kramer’s Supreme’ is a pleasant diversion in the winter garden when everything seems dull, with bright red flowers from November to at least March.
This japonica cultivar will reach approximately six to eight feet tall with a rounded habit and is best suited for Zones 8 to 10.
4. April Dawn
‘April Dawn’ is for you if you prefer a lot of flowers and color. A massive wall of candyfloss-colored blooms is created by lovely white flowers with deep pink accents. With blooms that are up to four inches in diameter, this evergreen show-off grows to eight feet tall.
Late winter through late spring is when the colorful show takes place.
Unless the temperatures drop below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, ‘April Dawn,’ a cold-hardy japonica cultivar, thrives in Zones 6 to 9. It will then need protection.
5. White By The Gate
Choose ‘White by the Gate’ if you live in Zones 7 through 9 and prefer pure white flowers. Several camellias have a little color when the blooms are white, but this japonica cultivar is entirely pure whiteness.
When it’s young, provide plenty of shade and water. When mulched, older specimens are drought-tolerant.
Whenever the weather gets colder, plant between November and March.
This plant may grow up to 10 feet tall and is a big one. The blooms of this sasanqua are spectacular: They’re white with dark pink edges that fade as the bloom moves toward the center.
Yellow stamens are surrounded by a darker pink color, which contrasts with the delicate pink. Try your hand at espalier forming in Zones 7 to 9, or plant in a space with dappled sunlight.
With its vivid red blooms and beautiful yellow stamens, ‘Yuletide’ is a winter magnet for pollinators.
This evergreen sasanqua cultivar grows to about 10 feet tall in Zones 7 to 10. This cultivar can also be used as a colorful winter hedge.
8. Jordan’s Pride
C is a 12-foot-tall plant. A huge plant, japonica ‘Herme’ Between January and March, blooms appear. Consider forming Jordan’s pride, as it is commonly known, into a tree form. Plant in Zones 7 to 9 and consider it.
The flowers’ light and dark pink striped petals are offset by the deep green foliage.
This 12-foot-tall and six-foot-wide japonica cultivar blooms in the spring. The lovely crimson blooms of one of the camellias that grows in Zone 6 appear in the winter or early spring, whichever is hottest.
10. Shishi Gashira
The four to five-foot-tall blooms of the four-foot-tall ‘Shishi Gashira’ are best described as hot pink and ruffled.
In the right circumstances, you may look for six months of blooms, and this sasanqua cultivar may be grown in pots where it is content. After the last of the flowers has died, simply trim it to form.
In the autumn and throughout the winter, you’ll get vivid pink blooms in Zones 7 to 10.
How to Propagate Camellias
Buy camellias from a trustworthy vendor if you want to. The majority of excellent vendors have plants that may be planted outdoors and carry samples that are resistant to your area.
Camellias can also be grown on your own. Take cuttings from multiple plants and see what you end up with to save money or simply because it’s so easy.
- Once the bark becomes brown and firmer than when green, take six-inch cuttings from new spring growth. Secateurs that are clean and sharp should be used.
- Your cutting should be approximately six inches long, either above or below a node.
- Save just the top three leaves when removing all others. Those should be cut in half lengthwise along the leaf.
- Rooting hormone is dip.
- Insert the cuttings into your chosen growing medium. Seed-raising soil or potting mix is all I use.
- A six-inch container can hold three or four cuttings. To maintain the moist environment, cover it with a plastic bag.
- Make sure the soil stays damp. Check for roots by gently tugging on the cutting three times in a month. Plant the shrub where you want it to grow if there is any resistance. Before placing the cuttings in the garden, make sure to harden them off for a few days.
How to Care For Camellias
Camellias grow in Zones 6 through 10, depending on their species or cultivar.
Give the plant time to establish its roots before the harsh winter arrives in the spring.
The pH should be between 5.5 and 6.5, and the soil should be organically rich. The soil must be able to drain well while retaining enough moisture.
From the afternoon sun, provide dappled light. If your flowers are still wet and moist when the morning rays shine, they may be scorched. You live in a hot environment where the delicate blossoms can be scorched.
Some, like full shade or a little more sun, while most can tolerate full sun; check the specific requirements of your particular plant.
Because the buds are so delicate, protect them from winds.
While they may endure some drought once they are established, the soil should stay moist.
Fertilizing and Pruning Camellias
Camellias are greedy eaters, so only feed them twice a year. In the fall, when the buds are forming, and in the winter or spring, when they open. Use a camellia-specific kitchen or one with an all-purpose feed.
The shrub may be damaged by synthetic fertilizers, resulting in bud drop. This may be caused by too much fertilizer.
Maintain the area around the plant with well-rotted manure or compost throughout the summer. Early in the spring, before buds form, you can also sprinkle a bit of blood and bone around the plant.
You will need to adjust the soil every year with aluminum sulfate if you do not have the correct soil pH for these plants.
Because of their nice form, most camellias don’t require too much trimming. Prune just after blooming to keep the shape of your plant. You won’t have an effect on the blooms next year this way. Remove any damaged or sick branches as soon as possible.
Best Companion Plants for Camellias
Camellias may be grown by anyone who loves slightly acidic soil and some shade. Try the following:
Problems and Solutions for Growing Camellias
Yes, camellias have a few issues. They’ll be much less likely to have problems if you keep them well- watered and in the proper soil with the appropriate pH. The following are the most common issues:
Camilla Petal Blight
Little rust spots on the petals seem to be visible. The first step is to eliminate any blossoms that are contaminated. As soon as possible, remove all fallen flowers.
Make sure you remove the previous mulch and replace it with fresh, new mulch if you have camellia petal blight and remove the blooms.
Root Rot Fungus
By making sure the soil is well draining, you’ll avoid any root-bound problems with camellias. Yellowing of the foliage and wilting of the whole plant are the most prevalent symptoms.
If the roots are reddish, brown rather than white, root rot is probable. Dig a little into the soil and see if the roots are reddish, brown.
To the best of your ability, apply a fungicide that is generic. The shrub will have to recover for a few seasons.
Camellias’ evergreen foliage is a favorite of mites. Mites, which resemble mobile dust particles, can be seen beneath the leaves. Inspect the undersides of the leaves if they seem dry despite ample moisture.
That’s usually enough to drive these pests away and send them packing if you spray your plants with a blast of water once a week. You’ll have to try this for at least a month. Spray a targeted mite killer if that doesn’t work.
When there is new growth, such as buds, aphids are drawn to camellia. For information on identification and management, see our aphid article here.
The fungus Exobasidium camelliae’s spring flush of growth is occasionally accompanied by leaf gall. The petals and leaves become powdery and thickened as the new flowers and leaves develop.
Spray the plant with a fungicide after removing all contaminated sections.
Camellia leaves and petals are employed to make tea all around the globe. A fruit filled with many seeds is also produced by these plants. Edible or cosmetic oil may be made from these seeds.
While some camellias do produce fruit, not all of them do. If there are enough pollinators in your garden to fertilize the flowers and create fruits, it depends on the type.