Many enthusiastically consider the camellia “Queen of the Garden,” especially while roses are quietly resting. Ok, so our roses in the west don’t begin to rest until we forcefully, but of course sadly, decide that we must cut them back in January. Luckily for us, beginning in September and continuing into the spring, the camellia brings elegant floral form and color into our gardens.
They are wonderful in the garden as a standard and single focal point, en masse, or as a container plant. This shrub has beautifully rich, dark green shiny foliage and when pruned properly, gorgeous plant form, thereby contributing to the beauty of a garden year round. Other positive attributes include the fact that camellias are relatively pest- and disease-free. What more could you ask for?
The two major groups of camellias are Camellia japonica and Camellia sasanqua.
Camellia japonicas bloom January through May. They have larger, glossy green leaves and flowers that are not fragrant. These camellias are evergreen and prefer to be planted in dappled shade and even deep shade.
Camellia sasanquas bloom from September through December. They have smaller leaves and depending on
the variety, will grow in part sun or deep shade.
There are many bloom types to consider when choosing your camellia: anemone, rose, single, formal double, peony, and many more. Both the C. japonica and C. sasanqua have many varieties to choose from. When making your selection, consider not only bloom form and color but also bloom time. You can have your camellias blooming from September into May with a wise and thought out selection. Bloom form is important to most of us. There are so many attributes to each flower type that you just have to see them to appreciate them fully.
Plant your new camellia to give this wonderful plant the best start in your garden. Take care to plant the root ball slightly higher than the soil line, not lower. Once your camellias are loaded with buds, do not feed them. Have you ever fertilized your heavily laden-with-flower-buds camellia shrub, thinking of course that you are helping the buds to burst into fabulous color, only to be horrified when they all fell off? The camellia does not want fertilizer once the buds are set. Don’t worry, the plant will reward you fully without any additional food.
Once the bloom time is complete in the spring, you’ll want to use an excellent acid-loving fertilizer, to give a healthy boost and reward your plants for their colorful winter flower “show.”
How to Plant Camellias:
We always suggest using our Success Pack when planting. Follow these recommendations and you will see twice the blooms as you would otherwise!
The Success Pack includes: Planting Mix, NutriPaks, GardenMax, and Organic Fertilizer.
Step 1. Dig a hole 2x as wide and 2x as deep as the root-ball. Mix the dirt you dig out half-and-half with Acid Planting Mix
Step 2.Backfill the hole so that when you place your camellia back in, the top of the root-ball will be about 1in. higher than the existing soil line. Place 3 unopened NutriPaks right next to the root-ball. Backfill the rest of the hole and tamp down lightly.
Step 3. Place a 3/4in. layer of GardenMax around your newly planted camellia. (Be careful not to bury the trunk of your plant, or it can’t breathe.)
Step 4. Scatter an organic fertilizer on top such as Gardner & Bloome Rhododendron, Azalea & Camellia Fertilizer.
Step 5. Water-in well.