Winter could be chilly and dreary, and there’s not a lot to understand within the backyard. Nonetheless, one plant reveals off, offering a number of the most engaging blooms within the panorama: the camellia. The camellia is an evergreen shrub native to Asia and within the tea household (Theaceae).
Camellias can embody a large number of cultivars and hybrids, lots of which make glorious additions within the panorama. There are lots of gardens right here within the Lowcountry that function these superb flowers by a lot of the autumn and winter.
The camellia is an distinctive genus with crops starting from the tea plant (Camellia sinensis), for which the household is known as, to the various cultivars and hybrids. The perfect identified is the Japanese camellia (C. japonica), which has been part of the Southern panorama for greater than 200 years. These beautiful shrubs present an array of makes use of throughout the backyard, the very best of which blooms within the fall and winter when most different crops are dormant.
Whether or not planted as a single accent piece or as a big group, the camellia can placed on a present. There are different species of camellia, the opposite essential one being the sasanqua varieties (C. sasanqua and hybrids). Sasanqua varieties are usually smaller, extra compact and have a tendency to bloom sooner than the Japanese varieties. The lesser-known tea-oil camellia (C. oleifera), which is likely one of the hardiest of the camellias, is often hybridized with different species reasonably than grown as a standalone species.
It is very important choose not solely the proper kind but in addition the proper spot. Camellias are a slow-growing plant however stay for a very long time. There are lots of cultivars and hybrids, actually, over 2,300 registered with the American Camellia Society. Cultivars can vary in dimension in addition to blooming time. If plantings have staggered bloom occasions, it’s attainable to have shade from October to February. There are lots of totally different flower types, so maintain that in thoughts when choosing the plant.
Camellias are comparatively powerful if planted appropriately. The perfect time to plant is between November and February so the plant has an opportunity to ascertain earlier than the warmth of the summer time. Camellias choose well-drained, fertile, acidic soil. So when choosing the location, test to ensure it’s effectively drained, and take a look at to ensure the pH of the soil is barely acidic (pH of 5 to six.5 is preferable).
Camellias should be planted the place the basis ball is a few inches larger than the soil line, as they can’t tolerate being planted too deep. Additionally take note most camellias choose partial shade, although there are sasanqua-type Camellias that may tolerate extra solar.
Take care of Camellias is comparatively easy however necessary. They often don’t want a lot further fertilizer, particularly if the soil is fertile. If wanted, solely fertilize a couple of times a yr, and achieve this within the spring or early summer time. They’re drought tolerant, solely needing supplemental irrigation throughout excessively dry intervals. Watch out to not overwater, as it will rot the plant.
Pruning for camellias just isn’t all the time obligatory, however it’s best to take action proper after they bloom and no later than midsummer, which is when the blooms start to set.
Camellias are inclined to have few illnesses if cared for correctly. Camellia dieback could be critical, however it’s not widespread in wholesome plantings. Root rot is widespread in improperly planted or overwatered specimens.
There are a couple of pests that one must be careful for, as they’ll scale back the general look and well being of the plant. The commonest insect problem for camellias is scale, particularly tea scale. The bugs pierce the plant tissue to feed, and heavy infestations could cause yellowing of the leaves, which reduces the general well being. When untreated, this could reduce the blooming and ultimately trigger dieback. Although not as widespread, spider mites could cause points, particularly in intervals of drought.
The varied array of flowers and blooms in camellias makes this considered one of my favourite flowers. There are lots of locations that function intensive camellia collections, particularly Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, which in January and February have an array of stylish flowers.
Camellias will not be a brand new plant however could be a magnificent addition to even essentially the most mundane gardens and landscapes. Planting camellias can enliven the panorama when all the pieces else can appear uninteresting.
For an in depth checklist of camellia cultivars and varieties, go to the American Camellia Society. See Clemson’s Residence and Backyard Info Heart, https://hgic.clemson.edu/all-factsheets/ for extra details about planting and caring for camellias.
Christopher Burtt is the City Horticulture Extension Agent and Grasp Gardener Coordinator for Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties. He graduated from Clemson College and his essential space of experience is shopper horticulture with expertise in analysis agriculture. He could be reached by e-mail, email@example.com.