We love camellias! An Asian native and an old southern standby, they are now a favorite in the northern states as well. In recent years, new varieties have been developed for their increased cold hardiness, giving northern gardeners even more opportunities to enjoy these charming beauties. Blooming in October, November and even into early December, fall-blooming camellias provide an abundance of colorful showy blooms that can now be enjoyed in colder climates.
Camellias do best in rich, moist, well-drained, acidic (5.5-6.5 pH) soil. Plant camellias in a location where they will be protected from the drying winter sun and wind or else the delicate blooms may suffer. Because these shrubs are shallow-rooted, they should be planted no deeper than they are planted in the pot that you purchase them in. Apply 3-4 inches of mulch to the root zone to keep soil moist and control weeds. Compost added to the soil can also help provide suitable nutrition to keep these plants healthy. Water camellias first when newly planted and frequently during times of low rainfall – a drip system can be a great option to keep these shrubs suitably moist. Fertilize in the spring with a fertilizer specified for acid-loving plants. If purchasing and planting camellias in the fall, be sure to give them a little extra TLC to help them through their first couple of winters and they will reward you with their beauty for years to come.
No matter which fall-blooming camellia you choose, if you give it the proper care, it will love you right back with abundant growth and stunning blooms that bring an air of southern charm and hospitality to your yard.