Beautiful camellias have been a favorite in Southern gardens for 200 years. This versatile ornamental adds color and grace to Orlando homes.
Camellias are evergreen shrubs. The many varieties suitable for growing in the Florida climate differ in shape from low and dense to open and upright. Some cultivars are trained into small decorative trees with slightly twisted trunks and flat canopies or rounded crowns. The foliage is very dark green and glossy. The flowers appear mid-season, typically beginning in November and persisting until January or February. The single or double blossoms resemble flattened roses or peonies and are available in colors ranging from pure white to deep crimson. Some hybrids bloom in variegated colors.
Camellias prefer slightly acidic soils that are rich in organic matter. It may be necessary to amend your soil before planting. Choose an area that drains properly, as camellias will not tolerate standing water. Irrigate plants deeply every 10 to 12 days during periods of prolonged drought. Camellias do best in sheltered locations out of direct afternoon sun. Plants in very sunny spots may show slightly yellowed foliage but produce more flowers.
Camellias have many uses in the home landscape. Cultivate tree-like varieties as accent or foundation plants. Shrubs look best in mass plantings, and can be used with great success to fill flowerbeds or to create lovely, blooming hedges.