WHICH CAMELLIA SUITS YOU
This grows into a classic small tree – from 1m to 4m – that prefers shade or dappled light as its large, glossy, darkgreen leaves can be scorched by the sun. The flowers can grow as big as 15cm and come in colours ranging from white, cream, pale to dark pink and reds with hints of orange or purple – or variegations of all. Petal arrangements can be single, semidouble, double, or peony, anemone or rose forms. Most begin flowering in May-june and keep blooming through to September, and many have a dusky or almond fragrance. The flowers stay on the plant for several weeks. Use as a formal or informal hedge, a single specimen or a feature in a mixed garden bed. It responds very well to pruning, tolerates frosts and prefers a welldrained, slightly acidic soil (ph of 6.0 to 8.0).
This grows happily and vigorously from 1m to 5m in the sun to produce a gentler, smaller foliage than C. japonica. The flowers are smaller too, ranging from 5cm to 9cm. They emerge in late summer to mid-winter, but come in the same colours and patterns and lovely perfume. The main difference is the flowers fall off just a day or two after emerging from the buds, creating that wondrously thick, soft carpet camellias are famous for. The fallen flowers are quickly replaced. Grow as a formal or informal hedge, clip into a standard or topiary, craft into an espalier, make it the stand-out in a mixed garden bed, or use it as a single specimen. It responds to pruning, tolerates frosts and prefers a well-drained, slightly acidic soil (6.0 to 8.0).
This tells us winter is almost over, with its lovely, big, ruffled petals looking like skirts lifted in readiness for dancing at the spring fair. It grows to about 3m but the flowers between May and September are huge and flamboyant, getting up to 25cm wide, and look stunning against the deeply veined, leathery (rather than glossy), dark-green leaves. Such a spectacle comes with a degree of preciousness, too. It needs more sunlight than C. japonica, and prefers warmer climates than both C. japonica and sasanqua. It also needs protection from wind. It fills a hole with loveliness in temperate or semi-tropical gardens, but it doesn’t like pruning. It prefers well-drained, slightly acidic soil (6.0 to 8.0).
short but ever so sweet, C. sasanqua leaves its legacy on the ground. You can pick up the freshly fallen flowers and float them in a bowl of water inside.