Camellias are evergreen shrubs with glossy dark green leaves and striking single or double flowers in a variety of colours that bloom in winter and early spring. They are an excellent addition to a woodland or asian inspired garden or a somewhat sheltered location. Most are hardy to Zone 7, therefore they will survive a typically Vancouver winter. If an unusual cold spell is forecast, Camellias will benefit from some winter protection (ie a layer of mulch + protection from wind). When properly planted and given adequate care, they will thrive in the temperate Pacific Northwest.
Camellias are available in many different types and species, but the two most common are Camellia japonica (Japanese Camellia) and the Camellia sasanqua (Sasanqua Camellia).
Camellia sasanqua blooms earlier than the japonicas, usually in late fall or early winter. Camellia japonica tends to bloom after the New Year, all the way to early March depending on the variety.
Exposure / Light
Camellias prefer morning sun, or light / partial shade although many will tolerate full sun if given the proper care and moisture. While Camellia foliage is hardy, the flowers can often be "beat-up" by winter snow, ice and rain. A sheltered location underneath tall trees or under the eaves of a house is ideal.
Soil / Moisture
Camellias prefer a moist, but well drained soil that is acidic and rich in organic matter. Good aeration is also important. As they prefer acidic soil, amending the planting area with Peat Moss can be beneficial. Avoid using Bonemeal when planting - use a liquid transplant fertilizer instead. Newly planted Camellias should be watered deeply about once a week in the warmer months. Avoid over watering. Camellias often do better when the top few inches of soil are allowed to dry before watering again.
Regular feeding is beneficial to Camellia plants. Use Arts Garden Pro Rhodo and Azalea food as it is specially designed for acid loving plants. As they bloom in winter, its best to apply the fertilizer in Spring to provide food in the coming year. Avoid fertilizing after September.
Camellias are generally pruned only to maintain size and shape. Prune away dead, damaged or diseased branches as well as those that cross, rub or otherwise grow in the wrong direction. The best time to prune is after flowering. Deadheading spent blooms will also improve the appearance of the plant.
For More Information:
For more information about Camellias, visit Arts Nursery or call 604.882.1201. We carry a large and diverse selection of Camellias throughout the year. The best Camellias selection is usually available in mid-spring.