December 24, 2013
Camellias are those true southern treasures that provide color and beauty that brighten cool season landscapes. Today I'm visiting with Webb Hart and enjoying his collection of gorgeous camellias. There are two main species of camellia that can be planted and enjoyed in landscapes all across Mississippi. Camellia japonica, and Camellia Sassanqua. Camellia japonica, orJapanese camellia, is best known for its large flowers which can be five inches across. But there are several variations of flowers. With its bright pink petals with minor red highlights, "In the Pink" is a formal double flower. Gulio Nuccio Variegated is a double flower with pink and white spotted petals. Royal Velvet is a double with dark red petals with contrasting yellow stamins. The other species is Camellia sassanqua, or Sassanqua camellia. This begins blooming before Camellia japonica with smaller flowers, but in far greater numbers. Leslie Ann is a double flower type with white petals trimmed in deep pink. Yuletide, with its bright red petals is an example of a single flower type. The peony type flowers of Pink Snow displays its frilly light pink petals. Camellia sassanqua is more tolerant of environmental conditions and have more versatility in the landscape, such as tolerating more direct sunlight. As a general rule camellias will have the best flowering when grown in at least partial shade. The falling needles and other leaves provides a beneficial mulch reducing weeding, and maintaining consistent moisture. There are several thousand named camellia varieties which means you'll have lots for you to choose from at your local nursery. I'm Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.