Winter and early Spring don’t have to be without colour in the garden, and Camellia plants will certainly help you insert splashes of rich colour during this time. The Camellia is our Plant of the Month this November here at Botanic Home & Garden Centre . Camellia are native to southern and eastern parts of Asia, and are in the Theaceae family. Camellia sinensis is a species of Camellia used most often to produce tea, but Camellia includes thousands of other varieties which are mostly used as ornamental plants. Camellia are evergreen plants with gorgeous rich dark green glossy leaves. They have large, showy flowers, which arrive in late winter and early spring, just when you need it most in your garden. Flower colours range from deep reds to pinks and whites, with either single or double blooms.
How to Grow
Camellia do best in part-shade and work well in sheltered borders. Autumn and early winter is a good time to plant camellias, so they can become established before the cold really sets in. If you plant in spring, just ensure to keep the plant watered during its first summer, particularly July through September which is when the buds form. Lack of water at this stage, in a plant which is not yet established, can lead to bud drop. Camellia do well in containers, but again, keep an eye on watering during the summer months as pots may dry out easily.
Camellia prefer acidic soil, and so planting out with a mix of ericaceous compost will benefit the plant greatly. If your garden is quite alkali, planting camellia in pots may be a good option. Plants which are beginning to look a little poorly, with discoloured leaves, should perk up relatively quickly with a feed or mulch. Camellia are quite hardy, and will withstand all but the coldest temperatures, when it’s a good idea to put some fleece over the plant to protect the buds and flowers. Camellia planted in a particularly windy position can suffer windburn during gales and colder windy weather also, so it’s best to plant them in a sheltered position.
Camellia don’t need regular pruning, but some varieties can grow quite large, so you may wish to prune back if space is limited. Deadheads can be removed if you wish, along with any failed buds, but it’s not necessary to promote flowering. It may take the plant a few years to produce new flowers following a hard pruning.
Camellia flower at slightly different times depending on the varieties – for late autumn and winter blooms choose varieties such as Camellia sasanqua, and for winter and early spring choose Camellia japonica and Camellia x williamsii. Good companion plants for Camellia include other acid-loving plants such as azaleas and rhododendrons, which also have fantastic blooms. Planting several varieties close together can give you a prolonged flower showcase from winter through to spring. Other semi-shade loving plants, such as ferns, will also work well planted alongside the gorgeous Camellia.
We have 10% off Camellia for the month of November at Botanic Home & Garden Centre, to help you plant your Winter & Spring colour for the garden now!