Camellias Part 2
While it may feel like winter outside, it's the season for certain flowers like the camellia. It is such a nice surprise to see such a beautiful flower in bloom during the winter months. Just ten years ago it would've been rare to see any species of camellia say north of the state of Virginia. But a lot of things are happening in horticulture through cross breeding, so this is changing.
Let me give you an example. This is Camellia japonica and it is still pretty thin blooded, it can only take temperatures down to the 15 to 20 degree range. But what they have done is very exciting. They have crossed the fall blooming camellia, Camellia sasanqua with another species, Camellia oleifera. And they have come up with one that can really take cold temperatures. In fact these new hybrids can take 17 below 0.
It was the National Arboretum that sponsored this breeding program and produced these new camellia cultivars and they have now provided them to nurseries for propagation and distribution to the public.
As beautiful as the fall blooming sasanqua is, the experts contend that these new hybrids actually have more superior flowers. And with this new cold hardiness a part of their genetic makeup, we will start seeing them planted in other regions of the country.
Now another thing you will want to remember if you plant camellias, they prefer acidic soils and there are blends of fertilizers that can help enhance the acidity.
If you would like more information on some of these hearty camellias just write me here at the station.
From the garden, I'm Allen Smith.
P. Allen Smith Gardens
© 1998 - Hortus, Ltd.