Camellia have glossy green leaves all year with big buds opening to a beautiful show of flowers from late winter into early spring. The stunning flowers can be single or double and range from white, through pink to red.
Part of our Range of Plants for Acid Soil, but worry not, if your soil is not acidic (pH of 5.5-6.5), Camellia are perfect for growing in pots with Ericaceous potting compost. Camellia thrive in a dappled shady spot out of drying winds.
Not sure about your soil? Grab a simple soil testing kit from our Gardening Shop.
St Bridget’s Camellia can be planted any time of the year, although the cooler months of Autumn or Spring are best. If planting in Summer, remember these three rules; water, water and water some more!
Camellia look fab in pots, follow these simple steps for finding the right pot for your plant;
Woody plants will need ‘root-room’, a simple rule of thumb is to buy the biggest pot you can afford, one that is at least twice as wide and twice as deep as the ‘nursery-pot’ (that’s the one it’s growing in at the Garden Centre) should be fine for a few years.
Use the best potting compost for your plant (Ericaceous for Camellia and other plants for Acid Soil) and mix in some slow-release fertiliser to give it a good start. Top the pot with mulch to keep moisture in and weeds out. St Bridget offer a wide range of both organic compost (composted bark chip is great for Camellia – it’s what we use) and decorative stone mulches.
As the plant grows, it will need feeding (spring-time usually) every year, compost replacing at least every two years (and this is a good time to check the roots, if the plant looks ‘pot-bound’ it’s time to buy a bigger pot!
And don’t forget the watering. Camellia prefer rainwater (which is slightly acidic) but tap water will be fine if you don’t have a water-butt yet (we sell those too!).
Dead-head Camellia flowers as they begin to turn brown if you find this unsightly but pruning doesn’t promote new flowers.
To encourage next years flowers, water the plant in the Summer months, with rainwater if you can get it.
Camellia don’t need much feed if they’re growing in moist, fertile, acid soils. Pot grown plants appreciate a feed in Springtime but avoid feeding in Summer.
Camellia grow at a stately pace, so you don’t need to be a pruning master – keep an eye out for wayward growth after the first few seasons and prune to a pleasing shape after flowering.
Watch out for frosts (and snow) as these can nip the buds and ruin your spring show.
A blanket of horticultural fleece on frost nighty does the trick. Or if your Camellia is in a pot – pop it in an unheated greenhouse or outbuilding until the temperature warms up.
Originating in China, Japan and Korea in forested regions Camellia japonica has been cultivated for thousands of years and appears in art and ceramics. Introduced into Western civilisation by traders from the 16th Century onwards.
C. japonica thrive best in shady spots, and will flower from late winter into early spring. St Bridget grows a fantastic range, with single and double flowers in White, Cream, Pink and Red.
Camellia x williamsii
A Hybrid of C. japonica and C. saluenensis first successfully bred by John Charles Williams at Caerhays Castle in Cornwall.
Williams Camellia tend to be even more floriferous than Japanese Camellia with a wide range of flower forms and colours.
We don’t grow the China-Tea Bush, after all, it’s not the flowers that are prized but the leaves.
We can offer you a warming pot of Tea in our 1925 Kitchen Café if you’ve been perusing our Camellia Collection this Spring. And maybe a slice of cake?