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Colourful Camellias for the Winter Backyard in Northern California

Would you want elegant, long-lasting blooms to deliver indoors in the course of winter? Or perhaps you’ve been longing so as to add vibrancy, colour, and sweetness to your late-winter panorama? I’ve obtained a really pleasant answer for you—plant a camellia! Hardy, long-lived, and  great additions to any panorama, camellias (Camellia spp. and cvs., Zones 5–9) are easy-to-grow, low-maintenance bushes and shrubs that not solely flower profusely when little else is in bloom, but in addition present construction and presence with evergreen, shiny, deep inexperienced foliage.

Winter is the proper time to buy and plant a camellia. Most backyard facilities and nurseries are well-stocked with fabulous selections from fall by way of winter, and many types will even be in bloom, so you may see precisely what will likely be gracing your backyard for years to return. When deciding on your camellia, suppose not nearly bloom colour and bloom kind but in addition about development behavior, with explicit consideration to the plant’s mature top. That harmless little camellia, regardless that it is perhaps thought of a reasonably sluggish grower, might quickly attain a top that crowds out different crops or blocks a view out of your window.

Camellia bloom occasions fluctuate relying on the variability you select. Typically talking, in Northern California, C. sasanqua varieties are likely to bloom from midfall to early winter, whereas C. japonica varieties flower from midwinter to spring; hybrids can flower at both time relying on the actual selection.

camellias around a bird bath
Late fall and winter is a good time to buy camellias. Throughout this sluggish interval, most backyard facilities will likely be totally stocked with loads of selections with regards to behavior and flower colour.

Suggestions and tips camellia-growing success

In Northern California, camellias choose a location away from a western publicity and shaded from the most popular afternoon solar. They carry out fantastically when grown below the dappled shade of a tall tree, or in an east-facing, morning solar location. They’re prone to sunscald if unprotected, so maintain this in thoughts when discovering that good spot. Camellias additionally work effectively planted in containers so long as the containers are giant and are positioned in a shaded location.

Camellias do finest when planted in well-drained soil wealthy in natural matter with a pH between 6 and 6.5. At planting time, dig a gap that’s twice as huge as the foundation ball of your new camellia and simply as deep. Place your camellia within the middle of the outlet, with the highest of the foundation ball sitting a pair inches above grade. Fill in across the plant, and unfold a skinny layer of natural mulch excessive to preserve moisture and maintain the weeds at bay. Till your camellia is totally established, water repeatedly. A mature camellia is deep rooted and might be surprisingly drought resistant.

Camellias don’t really want pruning, besides to tidy up, form, take away damaged branches, or to maintain inside bounds. The very best time to do that is straight away after they’ve completed flowering, as pruning any later might lead to shedding among the following yr’s flowering buds.

Favourite high-impact camellia varieties

The next are a number of camellias that I’ve had success with over time. Chances are high there’s selection that can fit your wants and desires.

Apple Blossom camellia
‘Apple Blossom’ is delicate and refined. The 2-tone flowers of this selection are notably eye-catching.

‘Apple Blossom’ camellia

(C. sasanqua ‘Apple Blossom’, Zones 7–10)

The fats pink buds of this camellia divulge heart’s contents to swish, considerably casual, semi-double blossoms. The blooms are made up of pink-blushed and pink-edged pearly white petals, and they’re centered with a distinguished cluster of golden stamens. A reasonable grower at 10 ft tall and huge, this selection blooms nearly repeatedly from October to January in Northern California.

‘April Daybreak’ camellia

(C. japonica ‘April Daybreak’, Zones 6–9)

This camellia’s massive, aromatic, ivory blooms are splashed and striped with pink. Every blossom measures 3 to 4 inches throughout. These flowers are completely enchanting, brightening up the shade backyard and bouquets! This reliable rugged shrub has an upright development behavior, reaching 6 to eight ft tall and 6 ft huge. Its bloom time is December to March.

Shishi Gashira camellia
If you wish to make a press release, plant ‘Shishi Gashira’. The massive pink blossoms in surprising pink adorn the spreading behavior for weeks in winter.

‘Shishi Gashira’ camellia

(C. sasanqua ‘Shishi Gashira’, Zones 7–10)

Lustrous, evergreen, deep-green foliage garments the virtually weeping branches of this camellia. The foliage contrasts fantastically with the dazzlingly brilliant, golden-centered, hot-pink blooms. A lower-growing, spreading selection, ‘Shishi Gashira’ makes a wonderful front-of-the-shady-border plant, centerpiece for a container, or basis staple. It reaches 4 to five ft in top at maturity and spreads 6 to eight ft huge.

Swan Lake camellia
Typically easy is finest. Elegant ‘Swan Lake’ is a traditional magnificence with pure white blossoms that final for a very long time in a vase.

‘Swan Lake’ camellia

(C. sasanqua ‘Swan Lake’, Zones 7–9)

Beautiful, massive, snow-white, nearly peony-like blooms cowl this lovely shrub from December by way of January, with shiny inexperienced foliage providing an exquisite distinction. The excellent blossoms are a beautiful addition to a winter bouquet and completely beautiful when floated in a shallow bowl. You possibly can anticipate this shrub to succeed in 6 to eight ft tall and 6 ft huge (or bigger) at maturity.

Debutante camellia
Nope, it’s not a peony. The blossoms of ‘Debutante’ camellia are a doppelganger of ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peonies.

‘Debutante’ camellia

(C. japonica ‘Debutante’, Zones 8–10)

With its multitude of ruffled, peony-like blooms in a stunning shade of fairly pink, this early (late fall to winter) bloomer makes a pleasant and chic addition to any shade backyard or sturdy container. Notably completely happy in milder areas, ‘Debutante’ is straightforward to develop, slowly reaching as much as 10 ft tall at maturity and simply as huge.

To see a gallery of different gorgeous camellia varieties, click on right here.

—Fionuala Campion is the proprietor and supervisor of Cottage Gardens of Petaluma in Petaluma, California.

Pictures: Fionuala Campion



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