Camellias

Camellias are flowering, shade-loving, small trees or shrubs that are available in a remarkable range of colors, forms, and sizes. Depending on the variety they may bloom in late fall, winter and early spring adding cheer to the garden when little else is in flower. Their blooms, from white or pink to deep red, some as simple as a wild rose, others as full blown as a peony, are set against glossy dark green leaves. Grow a camellia as a spectacular specimen, plant several to form a loose hedge, or train them as espalier to cover fences and low walls.

Questions About Camellias

What are the different types of camellias?
Cultivars of the two species Camellia japonica (Japonicas) and Camellia sasanqua (Sasanquas) are the most commonly grown types of camellias. Also available are hybrids with and cultivars of other species, including C. reticulata and C. saluenensis. Hybridizing incorporates different colors and textures to the flowers, adds cold hardiness to the plants, or introduces unusual growth habits. C. sinensis leaves are the source of a popular beverage—tea!
How easy are camellias to grow?
Despite their somewhat fussy reputation, camellias (zone 6b-9b) are quite easy to grow once you understand a few principals. First, put the plant in the right place and plant it right. Camellias’ ideal growing conditions are not unlike those of azaleas and so make great planting partners. Specifically, they require a loose, well-amended, acidic (6.5 pH) soil that is moist without remaining soggy, and little competition from other plants’ roots. Their roots have high oxygen demands, therefore are pretty shallow.
Are there fragrant camellias?
While most Japonica camellias are not fragrant there are a few Sasanqua varieties that are memorably perfumed including Pink-A-Boo® Camellia, Kramer’s Supreme Camellia, and Buttermint Camellia. Why? There is competition from other fall blooming plants to attract bees, so the sasanqua with its smaller bloom must emit a fragrance to attract pollinating insects. Japonicas are winter bloomers and in the winter there is little competition from other blooming plants to draw away pollinators.
What are cold-hardy camellias?
Gardeners in colder climates can also enjoy camellias with the introduction of the Ice Angels® series, among the most cold hardy camellias available, to minus 10 degrees. April Remembered with its soft pink open blooms, Spring’s Promise, a vivid red bloomer with contrasting gold stamens, and Winter’s Snowman, forming pink buds that open to white and wine red colored new leaves add a touch of color and grace to zone 6 winter gardens.

Our Favorite Camellias

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Marge Miller™ Camellia
Camellia sasanqua 'Marge Miller'
Item #1500
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Kramer's Supreme Camellia
Camellia japonica 'Kramer's Supreme'
Item #1812
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Kanjiro Camellia
Camellia sasanqua 'Kanjiro'
Item #2170
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Pearl Maxwell Camellia
Camellia japonica 'Pearl Maxwell'
Item #1889

Camellias that will grow in my garden