Camellias A Winter Jewel

Camellias are the sophisticates of the plant world with their glossy leaves and their picture perfect blossoms in a collection of apple blossom pinks, snowy whites, lipstick reds and butter yellows. There are classic single blossoms and voluptuous doubles. There are even striped, dappled and flushed blossoms for those with more extravagant tastes.

Two major types are available, Japanese Camellias (Camellia japonica) and Sasanqua Camellias (Camellia sasanqua). They are similar in many ways with the notable exception being the bloom times. Sasanqua camellias bloom earlier - usually mid-late winter, while japanese varieties tend to bloom in very early spring (Feb-Mar).

If you think they are all flash and no substance, think again. Tea, yes tea! Camellia sinensis is grown commercially for tea leaves.

 

These classy ladies deserve a place in the spotlight, but not in the full sunlight thank you very much! As heavy rains or harsh frosts have a tendency to ruin their gorgeous flowers, a partially protected site is ideal. Under the eaves of a house, near a front door or partially under a much larger tree can be excellent locations. They prefer dappled to full shade to maintain a manicured complexion and a moist humic acidic soil. Camellias are rather light eaters; use the fertilizer sparingly in March and again in late May. A fertilizer designed for acid-loving plants is recommended. GardenPro Rhodo & Azalea food is an excellent choice.

A mulch to help keep in the moisture on those hot summer days is a good idea. Avoid planting them in a high wind areas or areas of poor air circulation to maintain glossy trouble free leaves. You can clip to shape as needed after blooming. Given the right spot and right soil, these evergreens are really quite trouble free.

These lovely evergreen shrubs make a statement in a formal garden or a woodland garden and are stunning in the background or front and centre. The blooms are a welcome sight and one of the signs that spring is just right round the corner. Here are some outstanding varieties and some of my favorites:

 

Camellia Apple Blossom Camellia sasanqua Apple Blossom
A versatile camellia with white blooms edged in rich pink with golden yellow stamens. Dense growth habit with glossy, dark green, evergreen foliage. Early to mid-season bloomer. Hardiness zones 7-10.
Camellia Jurys Yellow Camellia Jurys Yellow
An attractive, large flowered camellia with white to creamy yellow flowers. A ray of large petals on the outside surround the small elongated petals in the center. Glossy dark green, evergreen foliage. Hardiness zones 7-10.
Camellia Pink Perfection Camellia japonica Pink Perfection
Slow growing, upright to spreading shrub with soft pink, formal, double blossoms. Flowers appear from early to late season giving it a long bloom time. Glossy, evergreen foliage. Hardiness zones 7-10.
Camellia Bob Hope Camellia japonica Bob Hope
A large, deep red semi-double flower with yellow stamens and ruffled petals makes this Japanese camellia a winner! Blooms in mid-season. Glossy dark green, evergreen foliage. Hardiness zones 7-10
Camellia Kanjiro Camellia sasanqua Kanjiro
A stunning camellia with cerise pink to red semi-double blooms edged in red. Golden stamens adorn the center of the flowers. An outstanding cut flower that is also slightly fragrant. Dense semi-weeping habit and glossy dark green, evergreen foliage. Mid-season blooming. Hardiness zones 7-10
Camellia Coral Delight Camellia x Coral Delight
This camellia features deep coral pink, semi-double blooms with yellow stamens. Foliage is leathery and dark green. Mid-season bloomer. Evergreen. Hardiness zones 7-10

Most camellias are in bloom in February and March so hurry in and see them in their glory. For more information about Camellias or to check availability, give Art's a call at 604.882.1201.

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