The Camellia has its origins in eastern and southern Asia. This time of year my two Camellia bushes start to bloom and I just love the show of their pretty pink flowers. Spring and Fall are good times to plant. I noticed that when I mulch thoroughly the roots stay cool and the soil moist. Camellias need regular watering, especially when they are trying to spread their roots during the first year.
- Evergreen shrubs or trees
- US (milder parts, protected), MS, LS, CS 10-7
- Light shade
- Moderate to regular water
Camellias like to be protected and don't care much for drafty places. Mine is planted next to the house so they get partial shade and are sheltered from the hot California sun.
Fertilize in spring after the flowers have dropped and again mid-summer, when the foliage looks sparse or leaves, are losing their dark, deep green color. Camellias like an acid-forming azalea or camellia fertilizer.
Prune after the plant has stopped producing blooms. You need to give the flowers room to open so cut off any branches that are crisscrossing. By shortening lower branches upright growth is encouraged. A Bypass Pruner like the one below works well for this task.
The Haus and Garten Compact Titanium Bypass Pruner has a razor sharp blade that has a groove to catch sap, which I thought was a pretty clever design. The idea is that the sap is diverted away from areas of the blade that would be difficult to clean, thus extending the life and sharpness of the blade. The blade is very sharp and cuts easily through branches. On the back of the package, there is a handy guide on how to properly prune, which is a great added bonus for new gardeners. Overall I am very happy with the new bypass pruners and hope to have another chance to try out other products by this company.
Haus & Garten Pruning Shears - Titanium Bypass Hand Pruner $38.90 Haus & Garten
A good read is this book about Camellias.
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Camellias By Stirling Macoboy