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The Plant Guide

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Camellia

Camellia oleifera

This small tree from China can reach a little over 20 feet tall and about half as wide. It blooms in winter or early spring, bearing single white flowers that are fragrant. Grow this elegant shrub in a border or woodland garden, as a specimen, or in a container.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsSmall tree with scented white flowers 2 to 3.5 inches across.

CareIn the garden, grow in moist but well-drained, humusy soil with an acidic pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Mulch with leaf mold or shredded bark to a depth of 2 to 3 inches. Plant so the top of the root ball is level with the soil. Camellias need partial or dappled shade in a sheltered site. Be sure to water in dry weather and fertilize in mid-spring. Prune after flowering by trimming back shoots that are growing in unwanted directions; remove dead and damaged branches in mid-spring. Indoors, grow in an acidic potting mix in bright filtered light.

PropagationTake 4-inch-long cuttings in late July or August and insert them into pots of coarse sand to which a very small amount of peat has been added.

ProblemsSpider mites, scale, canker.

  • Genus : Camellia
  • Plant Width : 10 to 15 feet
  • Plant Height : 15 to 30 feet
  • Zones : 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Moisture : Adaptable
  • Characteristics : Fragrant Flowers
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Maintenance : Moderate
  • Growth Rate : Slow
  • Bloom Time : Spring
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Spring Interest
  • Plant Type : Trees
  • Flower Color : White
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