It’s been a very good year for Camellias and we have already seen them add a touch of opulence to the gardens unparalleled. As they mature, Camellias are one of the best flowering shrubs for the modern garden. Besides the fact that they flower at a time of the year when few other shrubs are in flower they are extremely versatile.
In the meanings of flowers camellias are a symbol of greatness and achievement and the large blooms seen around in some of our local gardens attest to this. Camellias are an evergreen shrub that originates in China and Japan and have been used in shade gardens for many years in fact there are ornamental camellia bushes in Japan that are over 500 years old.
The dark green foliage of the camellia is attractive all year. However, it is the large rose-like blooms appearing through winter and early spring that turn heads. Camellias have different shaped flowers from single to rosette and even in size they range from small and compact to large opulent flowers.
Camellias grow in semi-shade to morning sun perfect in small cluster or townhouse gardens. Use them as a screen or as a solid background shrub. Camellias can also be clipped to shape and give an evergreen structure to the garden or in containers. Camellias are slow-growing shrubs that perform best when protected from the hot afternoon sun and flower best in spots with well-drained soil, filtered sunlight and shelter from the wind.
Dig a large hole and mix the excavated soil with acid compost and include a handful of bone meal and BioGanic. Plant the camellia so that the top of its root ball is just on the surface. Camellias planted too deeply are unlikely to flower well. Mulch them with acid compost after planting and feed through summer with Colourburst acid plant food or BioOcean.
Water is not only essential for summer growth but if flower buds are being formed during water stress, their quality will be affected. Maximum water availability is even more important while flowers are opening. If your buds drop off or go brown it is a sign that the plant is not getting enough water.
Perfect on shady patios
For camellias in containers use a mix of 2/3 potting soil and 1/3 acid compost and add a handful of bone meal to the mixture. Large plants can flower profusely for many years in a large container properly fed and watered. Re-pot when necessary into larger pots, remembering to maintain the planting level.
Azaleas, Gardenias and Hydrangeas enjoy similar growing conditions so why not plant up a shrubbery with all of these in mind.