Picture Courtesy of Wikipedia
Once upon a time, in the Orient far away, a Queen was born. Her name? Camillia. No delicate flower, Camillia was known to flourish in cooler months, boasting stunning colors and dazzling onlookers clear into April. But one day, she grew tired of her surroundings and decided she wanted to see the world. So in the late 1700s, Camillia left the Orient and headed out into a brand new world. Today, she’s making an appearance right here in our very own Greenhouses.
Camillias are woody perennials that perform best when planted in the Fall. They prefer a slightly acidic, well-drained soil. If you have Azaleas, you can create a life-long friendship when you plant the Camillia close by. They also make excellent container plants. Now I know, it’s tradition to immediately fertilize your plants as soon as you get them in the ground, but the Camillia is a light eater and would prefer that you not feed her until Spring. Avoid over-feeding her as well, because she has been known to pout and refuse to produce as many blooms. She’s not an avid swimmer either, so try to keep her on higher ground. Since it’s difficult to purchase sunscreen for shrubs, you may want to plant your Camillia in a shady spot to avoid burning her foliage in the full sun. Camillias should be pruned immediately after their blooms fade and new spring growth begins to flower. Heavy mulch, two to three inches thick, is recommended since they are not a drought tolerant shrub. But while all the other flowers go on strike during those bitter winter temperatures, your Camillia will proudly stand against the winds and supply your garden with lasting color.
Now don’t dally. The Queen is waiting. Be sure to stop by and see her soon…
For more information on Camillias visit The American Camillia Society.