Camellias, A Favorite Winter Flower


Camellia shrubs are grown outdoors at least two USDA zones away but can be grown in containers to bloom indoors. Native to Japan, they’re one of the few plants that naturally bloom in fall to spring. When they bloom depends on species and variety. Bloom time lasts at least two weeks with lots of blooms. Camellia has glossy green leaves as another feature when indoors in a container.

Camellias don’t require unusual care. In standard potting soil, they need acid fertilizer and weekly watering. Wetting leaves when watering removes dust. While not disease prone, they may get fungal disease, so I remove spent leaves for sanitation.

Camellias have to be grown in containers in South Dakota. For the past three years here, camellias have spent the summer in the shade of a tree and are brought indoors just before first frost. With the time outdoors they grow and produce flower buds for the winter. As they come inside, about an inch of potting soil is replaced to reduce soil pests.

Two kinds of camellias are in bloom at this time, this single variety and the C. japonica in the other photo. Both kinds are about 2 ft. tall and a foot wide in about a 12inch pot, so they are quite transportable.

Since they require only light sun outdoors, it is easy to find enough sunlight indoors in this region in winter. Shrub may be pruned after blooming in its natural shape and remain compact for indoor space. Dwarf varieties are available.

Have you tried growing camellias? Do you have another collection of plants that is more your favorite to mention?

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