Just when you think color has been vanquished from the landscape by the shortening days and somewhat cooler weather out pops the colorful camellias. The blossoms are two to four inches in diameter and available in a delightful assortment of pinks, reds and white.
Actually the camellia displays begin in October with selections of the sasanqua species. These are often single flowered and are best enjoyed on the plants as they shatter rather easily when disturbed. Use them as accent plants, space divider or small patio trees. These can last well through December.
Just as these early bloomers begin to decline the japonica varieties (pictured) start to flower. The blossoms are always large and contain both single and double types. Many gardeners like to float these blossoms in water or use the flowers and stems with large leaves in arrangements.
Now is a good time to pick your favorite camellias to be sure of the color and also the time of bloom. Plant care is quite easy but here are few tips to ensure success.
- Plant in light shade or an area with morning sun and afternoon shade.
- Keep the soil moist especially after planting and during the first few years of growth.
- Maintain a 3- to 4-inch mulch layer over the root system
- Feed lightly once in March, June and August.
- Complete all needed pruning between March and June to ensure bud formation for fall.
- Control tea scale a white insect infesting the underside of leaves with an oil spray as needed.