For exotic winter beauty you can’t beat the camellia. The Camellia japonica, or Japanese rose, looks gorgeously green and glossy through the winter and wows us with beautiful flowers to brighten the dull winter days. But did you know the ‘alter ego’ of the Camellia sinensis? An unrecognizable bit of this plant can be found in most homes – hard to believe? Well, it’s actually the tea plant!
Suggestions for colour – all winter long!
Camellias are evergreen, long-flowering shrubs and small trees with long, dark green, glossy leaves. For show-stopping blooms look for these:
- Camellia japonica 'Lady Campbell' has large, prolific, bright red flowers from February to May.
- Camellia 'Ashton's Ballethas’ has fragrant, double-flowered pink blooms from October to December
- Camellia 'Sugar' has delicate pink blooms from November to January.
- Camellias are slow growing (about 15-20 inches per year)
- Limit pruning after flowering
- In the spring gradually increase watering as temperatures rise and day length increases.
- Keep soil moist in summer
- Do not use tap water, try rainwater or softened water
- Keep you camellia out of cold winds and frost
- To protect from severe frost, cover the camellia with a horticultural fleece
- Camellia species that are not quite hardy will do extremely well in pots
Nice to know
- There are about eighty species of camellias, all from the Far East.
- Camellias will transform your garden, balcony or terrace early in the year when most plants and trees are still waiting for their leaves to appear.
- The seeds of Camellia oleifera are processed to make hugely expensive oil which is used in the Far East for cooking as well as being consumed for its cosmetic benefits. It contains anti-oxidants that help protect the body’s cells from the processes of ageing, strengthens the immune system and keeps skin and hair healthy.