Camellias are hardy evergreen shrubs that will provide visual interest in your home garden year-round. The glossy-green leaves shine throughout the year and the fragrant blooms will appear in late winter/early spring, or late autumn/early winter, depending on the variety being grown.
Are you wondering how to grow and care for camellias?
With over 250 varieties to select from it’s easy to find the right camellia (Camellia) to thrive in your environment. Follow these growing and care tips so you can enjoy the fragrant beauty of camellias in your landscape.
Camellias are hardy in growing zones 6-10 and the shrubs prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH of 5.5-6.5. If the soil is above 6.5 pH the shrub will not thrive, develop yellow leaves, and eventually die. Add 2-inches (5 cm) of sphagnum peat to the soil before planting a camellia and add another 2-inches (5 cm) of sphagnum peat around the shrub every year as a mulch.
Plant the camellia in a location that receives morning sun and provides the shrub shade in the afternoon.
When To Plant
In climates with warm winters, you can plant camellias in autumn, winter, or spring. Plant only in the autumn if you live in a climate with cold winters so the shrub will have time to develop a strong root system before the soil freezes.
How To Plant
Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the rootball and just as deep. Backfill the bottom 2-inches (5 cm) of the hole and pack it down. Place the camellia in the center of the hole with the top of the rootball 2-inches (5 cm) above the surrounding soil. Fill in the planting hole with soil being sure to leave the top of the rootball exposed. Mulch with sphagnum peat and water.
- Water during times of drought.
- Feed in early spring with acidic plant food.
- Prune at the end of the bloom cycle.
Popular Camellia Varieties
Camellia japonica (Japonicas)
This is a Japanese variety and is often called the Rose of Winter and produces a fragrant pink bloom in early spring.
Camellia sasanqua (Sasanquas)
This is fast-growing and produces dense foliage and fragrant white, pink, or red blooms in late autumn/early winter.
Camellia sinensis (Sinensis)
This plant produces white flowers in autumn. The flowers and leaves of this camellia shrub are used to make tea.