Planning a landscape is fun. It’s almost artistic in its fluid integration of knowledge and execution. Keeping the facts straight can be overwhelming, though. Which plants need full sunlight? Which ones don’t? Is this one okay being planted somewhere damp? How big will it get?
For the uninitiated, a little research can have your head spinning. If your focus is on blooming shrubs, you probably have your bases covered in spring and summer. Colorful floral accents in the fall and winter are possible beyond the pansies, violas, and mums, too. Let’s discuss camellias, where to plant them, and how to care for them.
What Are Camellias?
Camellias, members of the tea family, originated in the temperate regions of the Asian continent. As evergreens, they keep their waxy, beautiful dark green foliage all winter long. It’s these leaves that create a perfect background for the many shapes, sizes, and colors their blooms take, based on variety.
A key feature for including camellias in your landscape is bloom timing. When other flowering shrubs are hunkering down for fall and winter, camellias are preparing for their finest hour. Depending on your chosen species and variety, blooming may start as early as October and proceed through the winter months in a mild winter. Some camellias even bloom in spring, a graceful transition to other spring and summer color.
Naturally prone to growing in mild, forested conditions, camellias prefer to be planted in partial shade. Planting them next to structures or under tree cover also offers them protection from strong winds and hard frosts, allowing them to keep their blooms as long as possible. If planting near a downspout, be sure to redirect that flow. Camellias don’t appreciate wet feet.
When Should I Prune My Camellias?
One of the many “rules of thumb” for when to prune camellias is that you should prune your flowering shrubs just after they finish blooming; this is true for camellias, but there are some caveats. Pruning your trees and shrubs well is fundamental for the health, wellness, and lifespan of your landscape ornamentals. If planted in ideal conditions and cared for appropriately, camellias can live hundreds of years.
Different camellias bloom at different times. Knowing your camellias is important so you don’t accidentally prune one early, before it’s had a chance to set bud. For fall and winter bloomers, waiting to prune until March ignites lateral bud germination as warm spring temperatures are iminent. Camellias that bloom in spring can be pruned after their blooms drop.
The act of pruning isn’t as simple as hedge trimming. While certain sasanqua camellias can absolutely be hedgerows, maintained as such, the act of pruning is much more strategic. All shrubs need to breathe, and they benefit from allowing sunlight into the canopy. If you’re maintaining size, thinning by removing the branches that aren’t as full and trimming tall shoots can maintain the overall height. If extreme resizing is required, it can be done, but caution and understanding should be exercised. Large-scale pruning can be detrimental to any plant. Extreme pruning will also eliminate flower bud formation that season.
Can Nature’s Turf Help with My Camellias?
At Nature’s Turf, we offer our tree and shrub program to meet the needs of ornamental trees and shrubs in metro Atlanta landscapes. It includes fertilization and pest control products to help you get the most out of your ornamentals, camellias included. Give us a call at 770-461-4156, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to discuss the ways we can help you plan and implement a beautiful landscape.