Camellia - The romantic camellia is perfect for Valentine's Day with its lovely blooms and shiny evergreen leaves. It is one of the few plants providing a big splash of late winter/early spring colour in the garden, with shades ranging from soft white through to pink and deep red.
Camellia varieties come in different sizes, so choose one to fit the space you have. They prefer a sheltered position with room to grow. Some will stay compact, making them ideal for a small space or to grow in a container.
Early flowering varieties of camellia are coming to life around now. You can plant them this month so long as the ground isn’t frozen. Camellias are woodland plants, which means they prefer shade or partial shade. They are also ericaceous, so need to grow in an acid or lime-free soil. You can use a simple soil test kit available from Garsons to check your soil’s acidity/alkalinity (often called its pH). Add ericaceous compost to the planting hole if your soil isn’t acid enough. Alternatively, compact varieties of camellia grow well in large pots filled with ericaceous compost, available at Garsons.
They prefer rainwater to tap water and like to be watered well. Give them ericaceous feed in spring and early summer. Grown in the right soil, camellias can flower reliably and rarely need pruning, which makes them one of our favourites.
The camellia goes well with other hardy shrubs, flowering perennials and bulbs. Ground cover plants are a good choice. Azalea, crocus, cyclamen, Daphne, snowdrops and tulips will all look good close to your camellia. If you plant one in a container, add smaller varieties of bulbs and seasonal bedding for extra interest.
Garsons card holders have 20% off the Plant of the Month range every month, so come and choose a gorgeous camellia!