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!