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Camellias have a long blooming season and can put on a real show. Their blooms come in lots of different shades, sometimes peeking out from under a late spring snow. Here’s how to care for camellias (Camellia Japonica), so you can enjoy their gorgeous flowers in your own garden.
Cultivated for many centuries in the Orient, Camellias appeared in the United States around 1800. The climates of the West Coast and Southeast are best, but with care, these popular flowers may also be grown farther north.
Camellia – A Beautiful Evergreen Shrub
The Camellia is an evergreen shrub which grows in the mountain forest of Japan, Taiwan and Korea. Its takes the name from its discoverer, George Joseph Kami (1661-1706) who was the first to describe its beauty to the rest of the world.
Camellias: An Illustrated Guide To Varieties, Cultivation And Care, With Step-By-Step Instructions And Over 140 Beautiful Photographs
The English were the first to cultivate this tender plant but interest soon spread throughout the world. Today the centers of Camellia culture are on the East Coast, from The Carolinas to Florida, and on the West Coast. A few grow in Seattle, but the majority in the western U.S. are found in California where there are huge collections of botanical gardens.
Camellias belong to the tea family. The leaves are very similar to tea leaves being shiny and slightly toothed at the edges. You will find Camellia flowers in shades of pink and red or white and there are single, double and even fancier flowers.
You might also like to learn more about blue, pink and purple hydrangeas.
In almost every country there are keen fanciers of Camellias, even if they cannot grow them in the garden.
There are many Camellia societies that exchange ideas and experiences growing what can be a perplexing plant. Today there are literally thousands of varieties and cultivars to choose from.
How To Care For Camellias Successfully
Some people trying to grow camellias give up. But you don’t have to. If you plant it right, the camellia plant is quite easy to care for.
With so many people in the world who grow Camellias, some might think that it is an easy plant to grow. If conditions are just right, it is. All a Camellia demands is the proper range of temperatures and the right amount of humidity. But these are not easily met indoors and many give up trying to grow this beautiful plant.
Jobe’s Fertilizer Spikes for Azalea, Camellia and Rhododendron, 9-8-7 Time Release Fertilizer for Acid Loving Plants, 10 Spikes per Package
If the winter temperatures exceed 50-60F, transpiration is to rapid and too much moisture is lost. The result: everything falls off: the buds, leaves and all. It is better to keep it cool than too warm.
A home with central heating will also be too dry since Camellias need humidity. It is the Asian mountain conditions that should be duplicated-mild and misty.
When to feed camellias
Camellias don’t need a lot of fertilizer, but they can use a bit in the spring right after their blooms are spent, and once more towards the end of summer.
The Camellia’s Annual Rhythm
During this time of the year,Camellias are grown best outdoors, so keep them on a balcony or terrace or in the garden. Never leave them at the mercy of the burning sun. Grow Camellias in a sheltered, half-shady spot, and if there is not adequate rainfall, water regularly.
Fertilize during this growing season when the buds for spring flowers are forming. Move the plant indoors at the first hint of frost.
During winter, keep the Camellias inside at temperatures ranging between the upper 40’s and lower 50s (probably in your garage or enclosed porch).
And while Camellias need to be kept cool, never let the temperature drop below freezing. If you keep them in a greenhouse don’t let them get too warm or get too much sun. Don’t feed them either.
This is when Camellias bloom. The exact time varies with the variety. The plant still needs to be kept cool but temperatures can be in the upper 50s now. Each flowering period can last a month.
Flower size may be influenced by removing all side buds and keeping only the top bud at the tip of the shoot.
This is the time to prune plants to control their shape before growth begins. When growth begins, start fertilizing.
The cut stems, incidentally, will last about eight days in water with a cut-flower preservative added.
Camellia Plant Diseases
Leaves and buds fall off
A certain amount of this may be natural, as some Camellias produce more buds than will flower.
Other causes may be under or over-watering, or the wrong balance between temperature, humidity, water and fertilizer.
Petal blight will cause them to rapidly turn brown
If only the petal edges are brown, sun or wind may be the culprit. In cases of blight, however, the discoloration extends into the flower center. Infected flowers and mulch must be discarded and ground treatment with a fungicide may be necessary.
Camellia Flower Colors
Camellias come in many shades of pink, going from deep pinks to white, as well as all the way to red.
There are even some yellow camellias, going from very pale yellow to deep yellows.
These days you can even see some variegated camellias, just like this one.
There are close to 3000 different types of camellia shrubs and plants, ranging in many colors and shapes, some fragrant and some not.
Growing Camellias In Pots
Camellias are beautiful in ground, but they make gorgeous looking containers.
Camellia Plant Varieties
I love it when there are lots of varieties for a plant, and camellia has plenty of them.
Here are just a few I heard of:
camellia sinensis tea plantcamellia japonica nobilissimacamellia japonica mathotianacamellia japonica desirecamellia japonica alba plenacamellia sasanqua (see this one just below)
Camellia Flower Pictures
Before buying plants love lookign at pictures and imagining how they’d fit into my current flower garden. I’m sure others like that too, so i gathered some pictures with different types for camellia flowers. I hope you enjoy this beautiful collection of camellias.
These red camellia flowers are stunning! I love the simplicity of this flower 🙂
Another beauty, this camellia was photographed at the Locarno Camellia exhibition in Europe.
What a pretty flower! I love the peach accents on this one, and can just imagine a quiet spot next to a potted plant this color. I wonder if this is one of the fragrant camellia varieties.
Nature is so amazing! Check out this red and white camellia plant! Looks like an artist has some fun with these two colors. GORGEOUS!
I love the yellow white and pink combination in this camellia.
Don’t you wish you could have them all: they are all so beautiful!
If you’d lire to try your hand at growing camellias from seed, Amazon has lots of them. Here are just a few.
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I hope you figured out how to care for camellias and enjoy their beauty throughout the year.