Camellia Plant

 

All You Ever Wanted to Know About the Camellia Plant

The camellia plant is an evergreen shrub that is very popular as a ground cover, border plant, and container plant. It is thick, woody, and produces lovely blooms through most of the year.

 

 

 

It generally thrives in zone seven, but can be grown in others with proper care. There are some hardier varieties that have come about recently that will do better in areas that are less hospitable to the heirloom camellia.

Camellias typically grow upright, but some will bow and weep slightly. They can grow to at least six feet tall, though there are varieties now that are cultivated to be smaller in stature.

Proper Camellia Care

The camellia plant enjoys slightly acidic oil, so shoot for a pH level of 6 – 6.5. Keep soil moist (but not soaked) and make sure that you have adequate drainage since the camellia plant is prone to mold infestation. Camellia is particularly sensitive to a fungus called glomerella cingulata, which causes sections of the plant to die off. Another reason to avoid using too much water is to prevent root rot, where excessively wet conditions cause the root ball to become soggy and damaged.

On the flip side, camellias don’t handle extreme drought very well either, so it’s a good idea to lay down a few inches of mulch (organic material, not rocks) around the base. Camellias are also sensitive to cold, and the flowers will bruise and wilt at temperatures below fifteen degrees.

Partial shade is the best bet for this versatile yet particular plant. Just as frost can spoil the blooms, heat can scorch the leaves.

Camellia blooms should be pruned away as they begin to turn. This will free up valuable energy for making new flowers.

When it comes to propagating the camellia plant, aerial rooting or cuttings taken from new growth are usually the most effective ways to start a new plant since hybridization has rendered most varieties nearly sterile.

These plants only allow their roots to wander several inches under the topsoil, so try not to plant it atop other shallow-rooted plants or trees (such as maple or birch). They will thrive under pines since they enjoy that acid-rich soil. For this reason, they also enjoy being planted next to other acid-lovers like azaleas.

Varieties:

There are several varieties of camellia – some of the best-loved are:

No matter which variety you favor, adding a camellia plant to your landscape will create a romantic beauty and a dramatic, vintage look that you will not achieve with many run-of-the-mill bed plants. Ask your local nursery about which species of camellia will do best in your area of the country and with the soil conditions at your home.