How To Grow Ruffled Velvet Camellias
Enjoy the sumptuous blooms of double camellias in your garden this spring
Spring is not known for its flamboyance, flowers tend to be small or low growing to keep out of the weather & who can blame them? So to see the velvety blooms of Camellia opening up in the winter sunshine is a real treat & they can add a much needed vivid splash of colour to your garden at this time of year!
Historically, Camellias were cultivated in China & Japan, mainly to produce tea (Camellia sinensis) & plants from a number of different species were brought back to England with that in mind. Hundreds of years of cross breeding have gone into producing the cultivars that are available today.
Caring for Camellias
Camellias have dark green waxy leaves and gorgeous blooms that tend to be white, pink or red & come in a range of forms from complex multi-petal, peony type blooms to simple singles. They are woodland shrubs that perform best with shelter & shade. With careful watering they can grow in sunny positions but avoid siting them where they will receive early morning winter sunshine as a quick thaw may lead to frost damaged buds and flowers.
Camellias are ericaceous plants (‘lime haters’) needing an acid soil with good drainage & plenty of organic matter such as leaf mould. If your soil isn’t acidic or you are struggling to find shade in the garden you can create the ideal environment by siting a pot in a shady spot & planting up using ericaceous compost. Feed plants with an acidic fertiliser & in hard water areas they are best watered with rain water to prevent calcium reducing the acidity around the roots.
If you need to prune your Camellia it is best carried out when flowering is over. The plant will start to form buds towards the end of summer so unless you want to forego next season’s flowers it is best to wait another year.
Camellia Selections from Morley Nurseries
We have a lovely selection of Camellias in the garden centre this spring so it will be easy to find something to bring colour into your garden or patio. If planted up in a container they would also make a great gift for Easter or for a special occasion what about Camellia ‘Ruby Wedding’ or Camellia ‘Silver Anniversary’?
Camellia japonica is native to southern & eastern Asia. Over 3,000 varieties, cultivars and hybrids of Camellia japonica have been cultivated & it is prized as much for its flowers as for its glossy dark green foliage.
Camellia japonica ‘Adolphe Audusson’ is a semi-double form with deep red flowers that have striking golden stamens. It flowers between February & May, reaching a height & spread of 1.5m (5ft) after 10 years.
Camellia japonica ‘Margaret Davis’ has paeony blooms of a white which are edged with vermillion. It flowers between February & April, reaching a height & spread of 1.5m (5ft) after 10 years.
This is a hybrid cross which has produced very reliable cultivars that produce masses of flowers over an exceptionally long time period and have tough foliage making them the ideal Camellia for planting in the UK, especially in more northern parts.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Donation’ (AGM) is a very popular & easy to grow shrub producing masses of large clear orchid pink semi-double flowers. Site the shrub in partial shade for longer lasting brighter flowers. It flowers between February & May, reaching a height & spread of 1.5m (5ft) after 10 years.
C x williamsii ‘Debbie’ is a paeony form with bright rose pink flowers. It flowers between February & May, reaching a height & spread of 1.8m (6ft) after 10 years.
C x williamsii ‘Jurys Yellow’ is an anemone form which has white blooms with creamy yellow petaloids. It flowers between March & May, reaching a height & spread of 1.7m (6ft) after 10 years.
C x williamsii ‘Tregrehan’ has double / semi-double flowers which are apricot pink. It flowers between February & April, reaching a height & spread of 1.5m (5ft) after 10 years.
So if you want a stunning shrub for the garden or patio that will give you year round interest whether it is from its glossy green leaves or its show-stopping spring display then look no further than Camellias!