Camellias (Camellia japonica) belong to the Theaceae flowering plant family. There are hundreds of species, and thousands of hybrids, of this evergreen shrub. Their leaves are a deep, glossy green and their flowers, available in an abundance of beautiful colours from white through to deep red, bloom through winter and spring.
When do camellias flower?
- The Camellia japonica and Camellia x willamsii blooms in early spring
When to plant camellias
Do this in autumn or spring.
When to feed them
- In early spring, and with an ericaceous fertiliser
- Avoid over-feeding or extending the feed into late summer, as this can result in buds dropping
When is the best time to cut them back?
Prune them after flowering if required, otherwise leave them be. If, however, they require substantial pruning, then undertake this in March and expect the shrub not to flower for a few seasons.
How to care for them & what conditions they like
- Keep them in part shade, although note that once the Camellia sasanqua’s roots have settled, then it will delight in full sun
- Water them well during their first 18 months and particularly throughout summer. If the soil is dry at 10cm depth, then give it a drink
- When flowering starts to fade, you can commence deadheading (removing them). If you are tight for time this is not crucial, as it won’t have a huge influence on the following season’s blooms
Are they susceptible to any disease or pests?
They do face some potential threat from the following:
- Petal blights – attacks their flowers, resulting in brown speckled stains over the petals and rotting them
- Camellia gall – a type of fungal disease manifesting as cream swellings
Can they grow in pots?
They grow very well in pots and containers, yes. However, for colder UK winters be sure to add extra protection including moving them to more sheltered areas and wrapping them in horticultural fleece.
Can frost kill them?
Provided you keep them in a fairly protected area, they are actually quite hardy. If, however, the temperature drops to below freezing for a number of days, then they risk going dormant.
Are they toxic to humans?
They are not. However, if the flowers or leaves are somehow consumed, they could result in an upset stomach or diarrhea
Are their flowers poisonous to bees?
The Camellia thea (Theaceae) is in fact toxic to bees.
Are camellias poisonous for dogs or cats?
Like humans, dogs and cats won’t be poisoned by this plant.
Are rabbits partial to them?
Rabbits can eat them, yes.
Are their roots big?
They are not excessively big or deep and will not, for example, impact a garden path, fence or the like.
If you’re now keen to plant some more of these gorgeous shrubs in your garden, be sure to contact our team. We’d be delighted to help! Also, buy direct from our online Nursery – delivery is free to the local area!