Department of Horticulture New York State Horticulture Study Guide for Youth 4-H Logo


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Cornell University

Camellia japonica
(cah-meel-ee-ah jah-pah-nih-cah)

Click on thumbnails for larger image.

What about it?

The camellia is a broad and glossy-leaved evergreen shrub that will grow to a height of 8-10 feet and expand to a width of 5-6 feet. It has a upright, oval shape that spreads out with age, although it is easily pruned to other shapes and sizes. Camellias bloom in the early spring with red, pink, white, or variegated flowers that can be 5 inches wide.

What is it used for?

Camellias make wonderful understory trees because of their bold evergreen foliage. They can also be grown in containers for the patio.

Where does it grow? How do we grow it?

Camellias prefer a slightly acidic and highly organic soil. They should have adequate moisture and fertility. It is best to plant them in partial shade. When planting, space them 3 feet apart. This gives them plenty of mom to show off their blossoms. Camellias are slow growers. They are only reliably hardy in the deep south In the north, they are primarily grown in conservatories.

What are its primary problems?

Camellias are not tolerant of alkaline soils. Leaf spot can be a problem.

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Copyright, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University.