Kelways Guide to Camellias
Camellias are evergreen shrubs which thrive in acidic soils. Best grown in partial shade and a sheltered position, they can also be grown in containers using ericaceous compost.
They have been cultivated for centuries in China and Japan and have also been popular in India and other areas of East Asia and Southeast Asia, with Camellia sinensis being used to produce tea.
They are an every popular garden plant throughout the UK, especially owing to their early flowering. There are many cultivars available with the flowers tending to shades of red, pink and white with some yellow flowering varieties.
Protect the plants from cold, drying winds to minimise the risk of damage to emerging buds and flowers. They will benefit from a liquid feed in mid spring and again in early summer. Something like Miracle-Gro Azalea, Camellia and Rhododendron Liquid Feed is ideal.
Some of our favourite Camellias
A vigorous grower with columnar habit, this evergreen shrub has dark green, highly glossy leaves with creamy white anemone type flowers to 10cm in diameter from February to April.
Large, semi-double rose-red flowers in spring with golden stamens. Whilst it had the potential to reach 3m in height, realistically it will attain a height of 1.7m making it an ideal variety for growing in a container.
An upright evergreen shrub with glossy, dark green leaves producing large, double, pale pink flowers with darker pink streaks from late winter into spring. A great variety for growing in a container. Generally it will attain a height of around 2.5m.
An upright evergreen shrub with dark green glossy leaves and producing masses of creamy white, double flowers rather earlier than many other varieties, from January to March. Camellia japonica 'Nobilissima' has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Very full, double, ruffled, deep pink peony-type flowers from February to March. Camellia x williamsii 'Debbie' has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Always a popular choice, glossy dark green leaves setting off the open, single, fragrant white flowers tinged pink from October to December. Camellia sasanqua 'Narumigata' has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Possibly one of the best white-flowered Camellias producing masses of white flowers with ruffled yellow petaloids from January to March.
A strong growing evergreen shrub with glossy, dark green leaves producing semi-double, rose-pink flowers in late winter and early spring. Perfect for growing in a container. Camellia x williamsii 'Donation' has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit.