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Gardening with Jon Muller - Camellias - 20 June


Have had a long history - they weregrown in the 9th century in China. Camellias include many species and thousands of cultivars.

They are members of the tea family (Theaceae), which includes Camellia sinensis (from China), or the common tea plant.

The 5 main types in cultivation are:

  • Camelia japonica eg Guilio Nuccio from Japan, has showy flowers
  • Camellia reticulata eg Shot Silk, has large showy flowers 
  • Camellia sasanqua eg Setsugekka, early flowering, with smaller flowers
  • Camellia  hybrids eg Donation, very common, and more are introduced each year
  • Camellia species used in hybridising

Flower shapes range from singles, doubles, to rose forms
Growing camellias

Hardy plants, preferring acid soils, with good drainage and some shade.
Before planting (now is a good time) break the existing soil up and add compost to the top layer and dig in. Add acid plant food when planting.
After planting, keep free of weeds around plants and mulch regularly ( you can use compost as mulch)
Pests and diseases
They can get aphids and thrips (sucking insects) so keep and eye out and spray as needed.
Also they can get Camellia flower blight, especially japonicas. (sasanquas flower earlier so can miss infection). If flowers become brown and drop off, then don't compost the affected flowers, take them to the tip. Use a copper spray on the plant