The camellia belt, that is.
The camellia belt in the US is from the South-east to the West coast, zones 7 through 9. If you live outside the belt, don't despair, there are camellias being introduced that will live outside of those zones. But if you live in 'the belt', you MUST, yes, you MUST have camellias in your garden! At least, I think you should give them a try.
Camellias are evergreen, but they are dormant when they are blooming, so that is the best time to plant them. That means autumn for the U.S. In other words - right now! Aren't you excited? Run out and get a camellia now! Well, finish reading my post first. Then, run out and get one! (Or two.)
Where will you plant your camellia? Well, look to the skies for your answer. Or at least, to the trees, and you will have your answer. Camellias love to grow in wooded areas. They like to be planted under deciduous trees - shaded in summer, sun in winter. If you don't have a lot of trees, look for other shade - from your house, for instance. When I'm walking around my garden, trying to decide where to place a camellia, my rule of thumb is that if I would plant a hydrangea there, it will probably be a good spot for a camellia. Look for protection from the west or southern sun.
And don't forget to look at the mature height/width when purchasing a camellia. Some will stay small, while others grow to the height of a small tree. Once you've planted a camellia, it's best not to move them (too much). O.K., it's best not to move them at all, but I know from experience that they can be moved in their first year or two.
So, you're ready to plant your camellia. Plant shallow. Roses like to be planted deep, but camellias like their roots by the surface, so be certain you plant them right at the level of the soil in which they are growing when you get them, but no deeper.
When will you see its blooms? Well, don't be too concerned if your camellia drops all its buds the first year it's planted. It happens occasionally. But, it generally means that you camellia is growing roots and can't be bothered with blooming. It should bloom the following year.
Does your camellia bloom in fall or spring? Check out my post HERE for some generalizations about the difference between sasanquas and japonicas.
The belt (as far as camellias go) is a good place to be. I have several camellias, but the little camellia shown here is in full bloom right now. It is such a joy to see. Unfortunately, I don't know its name.
So, are you ready to run out and try a camellia in your garden? If you're in the belt, I hope you do! Now, go!
what a cute little thing!ReplyDelete
It is so nice to see this little camellia from out my kitchen window. It brings a smile to my face every time look out there.Delete
One of the things that excited me about moving to the Seattle area was the Camellias. I have spring bloomers and one is miserable where planted - its a shade lover and I've got it in full sun. I was thinking of planting a winter bloomer (can it flower NOW) in front of it! I'd move it but I have terrible luck moving plants and there are so many roots in our yard it can be difficult to find a spot to dig in.ReplyDelete
You may have talked me into it!!!
If it's miserable where it is, I would say - move it! Just treat it like I do when transplanting roses - dig as big a ball of dirt around its roots as possible, move it - dirt and all - to a hole already dug, and then water. It will hardly notice that it's been moved. Good luck!Delete
Camellias are fab for giving the garden some early spring colour. And they're evergreen too!ReplyDelete
Isn't that wonderful? They look good in winter even when they're not blooming.Delete
We are in the camellia belt too, and they are great plants needed very little attention. I have two that are 8 feet tall; one has pink flowers and one white petals splashed with red. We also have a 4 ft. tall pink camellia. I like to pick a few camellias and float them in a glass bowl.ReplyDelete
Oh, how wonderful to have camellias so mature! There is one down the street that is about 15 ft tall - it's magnificent when it blooms!Delete
Hi Holley, Your camellia kind of looks like 'Yuletide'. We planted 'Yuletide,' a sasanqua, last year and I really like the red color, just in time for Christmas. We are in zone 9b and camellias have always done well for us. As you say, they need to be in the right place and given summer water, although I haven't noticed ours to be particularly thirsty, not like hydrangeas.ReplyDelete
It may be Yuletide! I wish I could find the tag. And no, they are not water hogs like hydrangeas can be. As long as they are consistently watered, but not overly watered, they will bloom magnificently. Hmmm, that gives me an idea of where I can plant more! :)Delete
Camellias are so pretty but I've never had much luck with them... reading your post I now realise that I hadn't watered them consistently, I put them in a south facing position and then moved them around too much! The poor things didn't stand a chance :-)ReplyDelete
I've done that to lots of plants until I figure out what they like. Get another - you will love having one once you have it in the right spot!Delete
We can't grow camelias here in the cold Finland. That's a shame.ReplyDelete
Yes, it is a shame. Sorry. I'm certain you grow things I can't grow here. I guess we each have things to yearn for!Delete
I don't have any camellias here ---but I certainly do like them. Glad you live in the 'belt'.... I hated living in Texas when I was there for 12 yrs (missed my mountains too much) ---but in those days, I was not a gardener at all... Now--I know what I missed back then!!!! Oh Well...ReplyDelete
I can understand the lure of those beautiful mountains. If you had grown camellias when you lived here, you would have something from Texas that you miss.Delete
I wish I was in the belt. When I lived on Canada's west coast we could grow camellias and I remember the one in my mother's garden being absolutely loaded with these pretty flowers. I especially liked the dark shiny green foliage. Now I have to look from afar.ReplyDelete
My camellias have a special place in my heart, and I love watching and anticipating their blooms. It is so exciting to me when they start blooming. I bet your mother's was wonderful, and I'm glad you have a camellia in your memory.Delete
Cold hardy camellias of which there are many cultivars grow perfectly well in the mid-Atlantic area. You better let your belt out a few notches :-)ReplyDelete
So glad to hear it! I knew they had been working on some cold hardy ones for quite some time, but didn't know how available they were. Glad to know that our more northern friends can enjoy - and splurge - and these beauties, too!Delete
O.K., I don't live in the belt anymore but I used to (Portland, OR).... One winter day when the city was covered with snow (rare) I discovered these amazing shrub/trees that had beautiful, bubble-gum pink blossoms sticking out from under the snow. It was beautiful and that was the day I discovered them. I was just a fledgling gardener some 16 years ago. I still love camellias but now live in zone 6 and it is very dry here. I don't know if a camellia could make it although I see Carolyn has posted there are some more cold-hardy ones available now. I wonder if they could handle the dryness in my area? Thank you for bringing camellias into my thoughts again!ReplyDelete
I hope you can find a camellia perfect for your garden. I water mine in the summer months when we have drought, but otherwise, they are treated like any other plant in the garden. It sounds like you would love to have one in your garden - I say give it a try!Delete
I'd love to get one, but unfortunately they are not hardy here. Otherwise I would have one. You are lucky.ReplyDelete
Cher Sunray Gardens
I'm so sorry you have to miss out on these beauties, but I know you have other things you can grow there that we can't here. I guess it's all a trade-off!Delete
It a beautiful one you have there!! Love it!ReplyDelete
My garden is full of them :)
I knew you had several in your garden, and I wish I had more. I just have to find some shade around here - not something I have in abundance!Delete
A plant vendor at the Raleigh State Farmer's Market once gave me some advice about buying japonica camellias - if you are older, don't buy a small one! They grow so slowly, so if you want to see it reach maturity, you're better off springing for the bigger specimen. It may have been a marketing ploy, but I think there's some truth it in too!ReplyDelete
You're probably right, Sarah. I usually buy smaller just because of my pocketbook, but they do grow slowly and if one is in a hurry, it would pay to pay for a large one! :)Delete
I wished I did live in the "belt", but alas winters are too harsh here for camellias. I will have to admire yours from afar. It's a beauty!ReplyDelete
I'm sorry the belt doesn't extend to your garden. There are many things that won't grow here because of our heat - I guess the camellias are Mother Nature's gift in exchange. :)Delete
How lovely Camellias are - not a plant that will do well in my garden - too hot and dry!ReplyDelete
I knew there was some difference in the climates between your and Christine's gardens, but didn't realize there was that much difference, as she grows so many camellias. I will look at your gardens with a new perspective now!Delete
Good to see a post on Camellias, and you have one beauty flowering at the moment. Well, in Western Europe we are in zone 7 and I also have 6 of them in my garden. I love them because they flower so early (from late Jan. upto incl.March). I hope to be able to show them within a few months. Last Febr. all buds and flowers were brown and dropped off because of the late heavy frost.ReplyDelete
I have begun to prefer the fall blooming camellias just because of that. I had one last year in which the same thing happened. I was so disappointed. I hope both of us get a good showing from our spring blooming camellias this year.Delete
Jeg kom bare lige forbi.ReplyDelete
Tak for kiggwet.
Ha´ en dejlig dag.
So glad you enjoyed them! They are such a delight to see in the garden, especially now when most things are beginning to go dormant.Delete
Sigh, I have no shade, none. The camellia in the garden at work is blooming and I am so in awe. So I know I must be close to that magical belt. (You may remember all my camellia questions last year. I have never lived in the land of camellias.) I will just "ooh" and "ahh" over yours. They are lovely.ReplyDelete
Excuse me now, I have to go outside to tell my trees to grow faster.
I hope you will be able to put some camellias in your garden soon. You will love having them! I have several planted on the north and/or east side of my house, where they are shaded during the afternoons, if that helps you any. :)Delete
I was delighted to read about the need to water camellias in the summer. After all the rain we've had, I can't wait to see how my camellia will perform. The red, gold and dark green of yours is stunning and looks just right for Christmas.ReplyDelete
I hope your camellia loved all that rain, and blooms wonderfully for you! Since we usually have a drought here in the summer, watering them is important here. But it will be interesting to see how yours does with so very much water!Delete
There are so many gorgeous camellias out there. I was so sad that between the voles and the terrible heat we had this summer (while I was out of town), my new red camellias that I especially picked out last year didn't make it. I have a couple camellias that were given to me, though, that are still alive.ReplyDelete
I especially love when the petals drop, and it looks like a colored carpet under the shrubs. So pretty!
I'm sorry to hear about your red camellias. I had one die on me last year, too. :( (It was really bad soil.) I hope your other camellias bloom wonderfully for you.Delete
Holley, I have no these camelias in my garden, they are so beautiful although are small. Pity camelias aren't hardy in our climate.ReplyDelete
Sorry you're not in the belt! Since I've fallen in love with these plants, it would be hard for me to be without them.Delete
If they are developing a camelia for those living outside the camelia belt, when will they develop a peony and astilbe for us southerners?ReplyDelete
I'm not sure about astilbe, but I do think they're developing a southern peony! When it will be readily available, (and affordable) I'm not certain about. Wouldn't that be wonderful, though?Delete
I’m kind of in the belt too, here in London - I am in zone 9a although some winters we are more like 10a. I have a 6 ft camellia I prune heavily to keep in shape, it flowers profusely every spring, starting in February in early years and as late as April in some years.ReplyDelete
Apart from pruning I don’t do anything else with the camellia, no fertiliser, no watering, nothing else. A lovely gift left from previous tenants of my house, I have no idea what the name of the camellia is or how old it is, but I would guess it is probably in the region of 30-50 years old. I would love to have an autumn flowering camellia too, like you have Holley, I just have nowhere to put it!
Your camellia is gorgeous - I didn't realize it was that old! Amazing. Just think of all it has seen!Delete
That's a beautiful camellia you've got. I'm pretty sure I don't have room for one but sometimes I find myself thinking maybe.ReplyDelete
I know what you mean. I walk around my garden, trying to find places to squeeze them in!Delete
Boy I remember that belt as a child....no belts for me now....and no camelias :(ReplyDelete
Love these those.
I guess the best thing about being an adult is no more of *that* kind of belt!Delete
Oh, they are so beautiful! Plants I can only dream about...zone 3 is just a bit too chilly. But so wonderful to see your photos!ReplyDelete
Yes, zone 3 is a bit too chilly for a lot of things!!! Brrr! :)Delete