Camellias are shrubs that come mainly from China and Japan. They have pink, red, or white single or double flowers of great beauty, often three to five inches across. Blooms appear in fall, winter, or spring. The leaves are very shiny and deep green, two to four inches long, and are evergreen. When mature, long-lived camellias can take the form of small trees about 20 feet tall but usually are more shrublike at heights of five to ten feet.
How to grow: Plant camellias in partial shade in moist, acidic, rich, well-drained soil. Protect the plants from wind and sunscald in winter. Mulch to keep the roots moist. Prune after flowering is finished if necessary to improve the form.
Uses: Camellias make striking accent plants. They can be used as foundation plantings where they are hardy if the soil is sufficiently acidic. Where hardy, they are excellent in wooded areas.
Scientific name: Camellia japonica