(Theaceae, the tea family)
Culture: Camellias are native to eastern and southern Asia. Camellias are highly adaptable with regard to heavy or light soils but they do tend to be very slightly drought tender. Camellia japonica are at their happiest in slightly acidic soils pH 6-7 (zones 6 - 9).
Position: In their native habitat Camellias are under-storey plants. Generally speaking, flower colour is the best delimiter for position. Reds and dark, rich pinks prefer part-sun to dappled-shade, whereas lighter pinks and whites prefer dappled-light to full-shade. White and lighter coloured blooms can suffer from dew-burn on the blossoms if they are exposed to direct morning sunlight.
Flowers: In mid to late Autumn Camellia japonica commence blooming and continue through to August to September. My favourite C. japonicas are;
Care: Camellia japonica is a tough plant, however, they do benefit from a 6 weekly application of Seasol and the addition of compost will improve the pH of the soil for them.
There are a couple of Camellia japonica varieties that
tend to ball, in other words they form too many buds on
the one stem which will result in either small, poorly
formed blooms, or the buds turn brown and spoil the look
of the plant. These excess blooms take a lot of energy out
of the shrub and can markedly weaken the plant.
The solution is to disbud these profuse flowering varieties by twisting the excess buds off so that only one bud per stem remains. By disbudding these balling prone varieties you will reward with nicely formed blooms and a much stronger, healthier shrub in the end.