A stroll along a garden path should be interesting. Something should be peeking out along the way to invite you on. At this time of the year it may be hard to find that something to catch your eye but not if you have camellias.
One gardener pointed out these plantings are the antique shrubs of Florida. It is true camellias don’t seem to be as popular as they used to be. There are still camellia societies, camellia shows and camellia plants available. But gardeners have forgotten how beautiful they can be during the cooler months when there is little other color.
Camellias conveniently spotted along a pathway or used as a back drop for gardens could be your answer to winter color. Several species are available plus lots of colors with red and pink variations plus white. There is even a yellow camellia. And did you know the tea of commerce is a camellia that grows here too?
Generally camellias grow best in filtered sun. They can withstand full sun but the light shade seems to give them stress relief. Following are few more tips to help add a few camellias to your landscape.
Select a variety known to grow well locally. Usually the older named varieties are best
Keep new plants moist and add a mulch. Consistent care is needed for about a year.
Water established plants at least once a week during the dry times.
Feed once in March, June and August with an azalea-camellia product.
Control tea scale a white insect with a systemic insecticide found at garden centers.
Complete all pruning by late May the time when camellias start forming their flower buds.
If you want to give camellias a closer look many are on display at Bok Tower Gardens - Lake Wales, Harry P Leu Gardens-Orlando and Mead Gardens- Winter Park during the late fall and winter months. The local camellia show is held at Mead Gardens on January 19 in Winter Park. Other shows are held throughout the state.