The name camellia refers to one of the hundreds of species of flowering shrubs and small trees. While all of these plants bloom in cold weather, some produce flowers in the middle of winter and others wait until early spring. Camellia flowers often resemble roses or peonies, with glossy, evergreen leaves and pretty flowers, camellias are an early season star of the garden. Flowers range from white and pink through to deep red, and come in many different forms including single, semi-double and peony.
Queen of Winter Flowers
There are hundreds of different camellia species. And within each species there can be tens or hundreds of cultivars! With so many options, it can be difficult to choose the right camellia for your garden. To get you started, take a look at these popular types of camellias.
Japanese Camellia (Camellia japonica)
The Japanese camellia is one of the most popular species, with large flowers that bloom in the early spring. As these plants have become popular, plant breeders have developed thousands of different cultivars.
Here are some of the most popular cultivars:
- ‘Anacostia’ has deep pink semi-double blooms with small yellow stamens.
- ‘Debutante’ belongs at the pageant with light pink flowers that resemble peonies.
- ‘Kramer’s Supreme’ has large red flowers that look like ruffled peonies.
- ‘Pearl Maxwell’ delights with its elegant pink formal double blooms.
- ‘Spring’s Promise’ is an extremely cold-hardy cultivar with simple red flowers.
Sasanqua Camellia (Camellia sasanqua)
This type of camellia is a large shrub that blooms from early fall to early winter. These plants often begin to flower just as you’re decorating with lights and holiday wreaths. Compared to Japanese camellias, these plants have more flowers, although the individual blooms are a bit smaller.
Also read about: Astrantia flower
Here are some fun facts:
- Camellias are native to Eastern and Southern Asia, most notably China, Japan, Korea, India and Indonesia.
- Camellias are flowering small trees or shrubs that are evergreen and are from the family Theaceae, the tea family. That’s right your iced tea comes from the Camellia plant.
- Camellia sinensis is usually called ‘tea plant’, as it is the most common plant in the world to be used to make tea, usually from young leaves that can be made into green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong tea and other types of tea. While not the showiest of the Camellias it is the most delicious.
- Depending on the species, camellias generally grow no more than 6 metres (20 feet) in height. Some species, especially sasanqua, can be grown as hedges, topiaries and espaliers.
- Camellia flowers can be white, cream, pink, red, purple, yellow or variegated, and come in a variety of forms like single, double, rose, peony and so on.
- The most popular type of camellias are sasanqua, japonica and reticulata, although there are approximately 300 species, as well as 3,000 cultivars and hybrids.
- Camellia flowers range in size from 1 – 13 cm (0.4 – 5 inches) and they bloom in autumn, winter and spring.
- Camellia bushes can live up to 100 to 200 years, although the oldest living camellia, planted in 1347, can be found in China’s Panlong Monastry.
- Camellias have dark shiny green leaves that stay evergreen, which makes it a perfect partner for Hydrangea that are nothing but brown sticks in the winter.
- Tea oil made from camellia seeds is a popular and essential cooking oil for millions of people, especially those that live in southern China
- Sacramento, California is nicknamed the Camellia City
- The Camellia is Alabama’s state flower
- Camellia represents adoration, devotion and loveliness.