If you’re looking for a beautiful and hardy flower for your garden, some Camellias might be just what you need. These plants produce big, beautiful blooms in an array of colors, and they aren’t overly difficult to get started.
Fall is the perfect time to plant Camellias. Location is key with Camellias, so you’ll want to stake out the perfect spot in your garden. Camellias prefer partial shade, because they can be sensitive to harsh sunlight. For this reason it is best to plant new camellias under the shade of a tree or on the north side of your house, where they will be protected from the hot afternoon sun. They can grow in full shade as well so they are a treasure to shade gardeners looking to add color.
Once you’ve chosen the ideal location for your Camellias, make sure the soil is well drained and rich in organic material. Make sure not to cover the trunk base with soil, and add two inches of mulch to keep roots cool. Camellias can tolerate several hours of direct sun each day but only if their roots are cool and protected. Remember that younger plants will need regular watering, but mature plants over three years old can thrive on much less water.
In the spring, feed your Camellias an acid-forming plant fertilizer after the flowers have dropped. In mid-summer, check for dropped or faded foliage, and fertilize again if your plants seem unhealthy. Follow the directions on your fertilizer packaging carefully; there is too much of a good thing when it comes to fertilizer!
After they have stopped blooming, it is time to prune your Camellias. Remove any dead or weak wood, and thin growth in areas where it is too thick to allow flowers to open properly. To make lanky shrubs more full, cut back top growth. On the other hand, if you want to encourage more upright growth, shorten the lower branches. To encourage more budding, make cuts just above the scar that marks the previous year’s growth. Camellias can be grown on trellises or as patio trees with careful pruning and training.
If you have limited garden space, Camellias also make great container plants. We carry over 30 different varieties of camellia in the japonica, sasanqua, hybrid, and reticullata categories. Come see us, and we’ll be happy to help you select a Camellia that is right for you.