Many camellias have already finished bloom.

While other bloom might be lacking through late winter, camellia, Camellia japonica, can help compensate. Although generally not as profuse as spring and summer bloomers, its individual flowers display elegantly against luxuriantly glossy evergreen foliage. Lack of sturdy stems for cutting is no problem for a few flowers simply floating in a shallow bowl.

Centuries of breeding has produced more than two thousand cultivars of camellia. Floral form can be single, semi-double, double, formal double, paeony, anemone or rose, so is quite variable. Floral color ranges from pure white to deep red, with many hues of pink in between. Stripes, speckles, blotches or picotee margins are within the same color range. 

Camellia generally develops as nicely dense shrubbery that stays lower than the eaves. Some cultivars stay even lower. A few slowly mature as small and perhaps sparse trees. Individual flowers are about three inches wide. Some are smaller. A few are comparably bulky. Camellia sasanqua is a separate species with smaller but more abundant flowers.


8 thoughts on “Camellia

  1. These are one of my “holy grail” plants since I can’t grow them here in the frozen north. I have tried them as bonsai in a sheltered porch but it just wasn’t the same and they really didn’t do well. This is just another example of me gardening in the wrong climate.


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    1. I believe that is their job. They grow well here, but not all of them bloom reliably, and some that bloom are not very showy about it if their flowers hang downward or are obscured by foliage. I happen to like them even without bloom. The glossy foliage is so handsome.

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  2. Our camellia is butchered every single year after it sets buds by the hideous landscape crew that comes through and “trims.” Still, it has buds that are internal and blossoms like some hide and seek Easter egg hunt.

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    1. That is really unfortunate. Those so-called gardeners get payed to destroy that which they are paid to take care of. Well, you know how common that is. I just found that someone who tried to ‘help’ here cut back a forsythia just as it was beginning to bloom. I tended to it all year for this moment, and now I get nothing.


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