Let’s talk about one of the most beautiful and beloved plants in the Pacific Northwest, the camellia! Not only are they beautiful and low-maintenance, they’re also perfectly suited for our climate. Read on to find out more about why camellias make such great garden additions here in the PNW and how to care for them.
Why Camellias Love the PNW
Camellias are native to eastern Asia, but they thrive in climates similar to ours here in the Pacific Northwest. That’s because our mild winters and warm summers make for ideal growing conditions! We don’t get too hot or cold, and we get plenty of rain throughout the year. These gorgeous blooms require consistently moist soil, so if your garden is usually dry, you may need to water them more often than usual. But other than that, camellias can pretty much take care of themselves!
Camellias are great friends to pollinators like hummingbirds in the winter because they come dressed to impress with their lush evergreen foliage and dazzling blossoms. With a little winter cheer, these flowers provide much-needed sustenance as sources of nectar and pollen for pollinators, who can be hard-pressed for food around this time. On top of that, camellia bushes can flower all winter long if given the right conditions – meaning more food and fun for our winged friends! So why not host some hummers in your backyard by planting a few camellias? They’re sure to attract these beautiful birds, brightening up even the dreariest days during the colder months.
Types of Camellias We Carry
One of the most popular types of camellia is the Camellia japonica. It has large glossy leaves and huge blooms in shades of red, pink, and white. This variety is also easy to grow and can thrive in partial shade or full sun. They bloom from winter to early spring and are long-lasting, so you can enjoy them in your garden for months on end.
Camellia sasanqua is a popular species of camellia plant that is native to Japan and China. Often called ‘Tea Camellia’, iIt is an evergreen shrub that is known for its smaller, beautiful, fragrant flowers, which can range in color from white to pink to red. It prefers moist, well-drained soils and can tolerate partial shade, making it a versatile addition to many landscapes.
Planting Your Camellia
When planting a camellia shrub (or any plant), it’s important to pick the right spot in your garden—one that gets plenty of morning sunshine but is protected from harsh afternoon sun and wind. Be sure to give your camellia some room to grow; 8-10 feet is usually a good distance between plants. And when you dig your hole, make sure it’s twice as wide as the root ball! That way, there’s plenty of space for the roots to spread out and establish themselves properly. Finally, give it an organic fertilizer when planting and water deeply every few days until it gets established—then enjoy watching it grow!
When it comes to smaller spaces, camellias are highly useful as espaliers or in containers. These can be used as decor on balconies, terraces, and patios while also serving as a source of privacy: Camellia leaves are dense and provide good coverage without blocking out too much light. Plus, with colorful clusters of fragrant flowers that lie within those lush foliage, who could resist? There's no better way to quickly add a touch of natural beauty and lushness than with some camellia-filled containers or an espalier border.
Soil for Camellias
The best type of soil for growing camellias is a well-draining, slightly acidic garden soil (with a pH between 4.5 and 6.0). In clay soils, it's definitely worth adding organic matter like compost, leaf mold or rotted manure to give them the perfect environment for growth and flowering. Finally, consider mulching around the plants in spring–not only does this shield tender roots from hot weather, it also helps keep soil moist and weed free–which every gardener loves!
Caring for Your Camellia
Now that you have a beautiful new camellia in your garden, let’s talk upkeep! You might not need to do much pruning unless your plant starts getting too large or unruly—but if you do decide to prune it back, be sure not to trim off too much at once since this can shock the plant. You won't need any fancy equipment either; just use sharp hand clippers or shears when pruning away dead branches or spent blooms. Just one final tip: watch out for spider mites during summer months! These pesky critters love sucking on juicy leaves and can cause major damage if left unchecked; if you notice any on your camellia leaves simply blast them away with a strong stream of water from your hose nozzle or you can use either insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Enjoy Your Camellia in the PNW
There you have it—all you need to know about growing beautiful camellias here in the Pacific Northwest! They make wonderful additions to gardens big and small since they don’t require too much space but still bring a lot of color and life into any outdoor space. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start planting yourself some gorgeous camellias today!