Camellias are popular evergreen shrubs, and it’s not hard to see why! Flowering early in the season, they delight with a showy display of predominantly white, pink, and red blooms, when little else is in flower. Their long flowering season is complemented by glossy evergreen leaves, which look attractive all year round. There are a multitude of varieties, looking impressive in shrub borders, containers or planted informally in light woodland.
What Do Camellias Bring to a Garden?
A Pop of Colour
A prized possession amongst gardeners for their winter flowering, Camellias can bloom as early as late autumn through to spring. This hardy genus injects a burst of colour into the garden during months when colour is generally in short supply. Make the most of their glamourous blooms and colourful offering by planting different varieties that flower early, mid, and late season, prolonging their flowering season.
Inject a splash of colour with the large pink flowers of Camellia x williamsii ‘Debbie’ and the red of Camellia japonica ‘Adeyaka’. If you are looking for pure white blooms, reach for a variety like Camellia japonica ‘Silver Anniversary’.
With many different varieties, Camellias not only offer a wide range of flowering times and colours – but shapes too!
To add fullness, look to varieties with peony-form flowers, such as Camellia x williamsii ‘Senorita’, or semi-double flowers like Camellia x williamsii ‘E.T.R. Carlyon’. For simpler displays, Camellia ‘Crimson Candles’ is a good option with single flowers.
Provided they are planted correctly, Camellias are easy to grow. Each variety will have slightly different care notes, but they generally follow the same guide.
Best planted in Autumn, Camellias require acidic soil. Plant in a container for the best results, to ensure the soil is acidic. Although generally super hardy, they thrive in partial or dappled shade, in a sheltered position that is away from cold winds and early morning sun.
Water newly planted Camellias regularly, and through the summer months as this is when the flowers are produced.
Deadhead flowers once they begin to fade. This has little effect on significantly improving next season’s flowering, but will keep the plant looking tidy and fresh.
If leaves begin to turn yellow, feed the plant with an ericaceous (acid) fertiliser, such as Murphys Sequestrene Iron.
Although super hardy, keep a close eye on camellias when temperature levels drop. A late frost can damage newly forming buds, causing them to open and turn brown quickly.
Top tip: if your garden is prone to late frosts, protect camellias with fleece or plant them in spots that are less likely to be hit by frost.
With some care, your camellia will flourish, producing a delightful show of flowers to be enjoyed early in the season.