Camellias are a group of broadleaf evergreen shrubs valued for their winter to early spring bloom and glossy green foliage. They come in many shades of white to red, and many different sizes. Camellias can be used as small trees, shrubs, or can even be trained on a trellis. This plant enjoys partial sun, is very hardy in cold weather, and grows best in well-drained, acidic soil. However, harsh sunlight and warm temperatures can severely damage the camellia.
The Japanese Camellia (Camellia japonica) is the standard camellia that most people know. It is strongly upright, and can turn into a small tree in time. Its blooms will appear in late winter-mid spring and are usually quite large and showy.
Winter Blooming Camellia
The Winter Blooming Camellia (Camellia sasanqua) tends to be more spreading, although in time it can grow to the same size as the Japanese Camellia and its growth tends to be very wiry. It will start blooming in late fall, a month or two earlier than the Japanese, and will continue on into spring. The flowers will be smaller than on the Japanese Camellia, but this is actually a good thing in some regards because the smaller blooms shatter when they are finished, instead of rotting on the plant like the Japanese Camellia.