Camellias are one of the most popular blooming evergreens in the Southeast US, and one of our favorite winter bloomers. There are many varieties to choose from to bring showy winter interest. Camellia japonica, commonly called Camellia, is a slow upright grower with medium to large flowers that open from mid to late winter. Camellias grow best in shade to part sun, morning sun being better for them than afternoon sun.
Other than the sun/shade requirements, the MOST IMPORTANT ingredient to be successful with camellias is your soil conditions. Camellias require rich, well-drained soil with an acid pH. Rich refers to soil with organic matter like mulch, compost, peat, etc present or added at the time of planting. Well-drained is simply a raised or sloped location so the below ground soil does not stay excessively wet after irrigating or rainfall. Acid pH means the pH level of the soil is below 7 (5.5 to 6.5 is best). The best way to find out your soils pH is to have a soil test done by LSU. We have the free kits at our store; you mail it back to the AgCenter with $10, and they will send your results back. With these three ingredients in place, Camellias will grow a strong root system and in turn will perform well in your landscape for many years.
Tip: Now through early spring is the best time to plant Camellias. The more time these plants have to get established before their first summer the better.
Here are a list of our Top 5 Camellia Picks! We have these and many more at the nursey, so come stroll and select your winter bloomers!
Shishi Gashira Camellia
A versatile performer displaying profuse, hot pink, semi-double blooms with golden yellow stamens in the center and glossy, dark green evergreen foliage. Flowers are perfect for cutting. Excellent choice for a colorful low hedge, espalier or high profile groundcover. The flowers bloom in fall/winter and this plant is an LSU SuperPlant! It’s a dwarf shrub, maturing to 4’ x 4’, and can take sun.
Single, brilliant, fiery red blooms centered with bright yellow stamens make this a beautiful addition to the winter garden. Blossoms stand out in high contrast against glossy, dark green evergreen foliage. Excellent choice for a colorful hedge or screen, espalier, and border shrub. As its name suggests, it blooms right in time for the holiday foot traffic to your home! It matures to 6’ x 4’ in partial sun/shade.
Sea Foam Camellia
This beauty boasts medium to large, formal, pure white double flowers. It is a vigorous, upright evergreen shrub with glossy, deep green leaves that contract dramatically with blooms. Since it blooms in late fall through mid-winter, it provides a beautiful “snow white” backdrop in your landscape.
It matures to 10’ x 8’ in partial sun/shade.
Taylor's Perfection Camellia
The dark green leaves make a nice backdrop for the exquisite, semi-double, light pink flowers of this “perfection” camellia. The stamens are prominent and add to the sculpted effect. It’s a evergreen, winter bloomer, so will give you showy interest until your spring bloomers take over the stage. It matures to 8’x 8’ in partial sun/shade.
Royal Velvet Camellia
Lustrous deep green foliage covers this vigorous, upright shrub; large-sized, semi-double velvety red blooms open in winter. It prefers to be provided rich, acidic, moist, well-drained soil.
It matures to 12’ x 8’ in partial sun/shade.