Camellias are popular evergreen shrubs grown for their immaculate and colourful flowers, borne in large numbers on established plants through the winter months, contrasting against the shiny evergreen foliage when few other plants in the garden are in flower. They are great winter flowering evergreens for gardens of all sizes, and they look fantastic growing in containers.

To get the best from your Camellia plants grow them in partial or dappled shade although they will take a little more sun when they get established, especially if a generous mulch keeps the roots cool. Choose a sheltered spot away from the early morning sun and damaging strong/cold winds. These are hardy plants, exposing them to early morning sun of an Easterly aspect or a dry site in full sun are the only serious dislikes.

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Camellia plants like to be grown in well drained acidic soil although neutral soil is also fine if some ericaceous compost is added and mixed in well with the existing soil. Good drainage is important when growing Camellias, but they do not like to dry out completely in the summer. On heavier soils the drainage could be improved by adding some horticultural grit or sharp sand to open the soil. The new flower buds are being formed at this time of year (in Summer), so it pays to give them a generous mulch of bark chippings or something similar in the spring to conserve moisture on lighter sandy soils. Younger plants may need watering during longer dry spells until they are well established.

Camellias are great (and easy) plants for container growing, choose a generous sized pot and plant it in ericaceous compost. Ideally place the pot in a sheltered spot away from cold north or east winds and with a touch of shade – somewhere close to the house so the flowers can be appreciated on dull winter days! In a generous size pot, Camellia plants will give many years of service gracing a patio or terrace before finally and inevitably, they will need to be planted out into the open ground when they outgrow your chosen container.

These handsome plants seldom need pruning although deadheading them will keep the plants looking fresh when some of the flowers start to drop. If you do need to prune then immediately after flowering is the best time, cutting back to a strong and healthy pair of leaves. Large or overgrown Camellia plants can be reduced in size and rejuvenated by pruning hard after flowering, new growth should follow soon after, but it may take a couple of years before they flower again.

Healthy and established Camellias growing in the soil will seldom need feeding, if they do look ‘washed out’ then a general-purpose ericaceous feed in spring should restore a healthy colour fairy quickly. The same fertiliser is ideal for container grown Camellia plants.
If you need any further information about our range of Camellia plants please call our friendly, knowledgeable sales team on 01580 765600