The camellia originated Southeast Asia, China and Japan. It is now grown throughout the world in climates with temperatures as low as minus -15 degrees C and as warm as 37.8 degrees C. Its showy flowers in shades of white, pink, red or violet come in single, semi-double and double forms. This evergreen shrub has more than 3,000 varieties and is very long-lived if its simple cultural requirements are met.
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The camellia shrub is easily sunburned. Locate the camellia where it has some shade and is protected from drying winds. Planting on the north or east side of a structure or under tall trees with deep roots that won't compete with the shallow roots of the camellia is a good choice. Camellias can be grown very successfully in containers as well. Natural rainfall is sufficient water for the plant once it is 3 years old, with a mulch around the roots to retain moisture. During hot months of drought, water it with a deep soaking every few weeks until natural precipitation takes over the chore.
Soil and Food
The care of camellias includes providing a well-drained humus soil. The soil and organic supplements should be acidic--peat moss, pine needles and crushed bark are all good choices. If it is not fertilised regularly, the shrub tends to be a slow grower. The camellia needs the same acid type fertiliser as that of a rhododendron, which can be found at all garden centres. Feed the camellia for several weeks after it is finished blooming. The lasting quality of the stunning blossoms makes this extra effort worthwhile.
Shades of White
Brushfield's yellow is a camellia that shows off creamy white petals with canary yellow petaloids on a ruffled form. In temperate North America, it blooms in March. Nuccio's gem is another white flowering camellia with double flowers with a spiral pattern to the petals, blooming in April. Many growers suggest that white flowering camellias generally do better in shade and often in full shade.
Blossoms of Red
Rosehill red, Ville de Nantes, and Bob Hope all supply the sought after red flowers of the camellia. These range in bloom time from February through March in the northern states.
Old Time Favorites
Kumasaka is an old time favourite for its peony shaped flower in a bright rose shade. With a bloom time of May, it is also more tolerant of direct sun than most other camellia shrubs. Pale pink flowers on the glossy green foliage backdrop remain a widely chosen camellia for the garden. Mabel Bryan, magnoliaeflora, and elegans splendour are selections of this pale pink blossom.
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